CHENNAI: The government is planning to install a street hydrant system in T Nagar’s busy commercial hub to minimise damage during a major fire, according to State Fire and Rescue Services Department (SFRSD).
According to the report available with Express, the state government since 2011 had been studying the feasibility of installing hydrant systems in the cramped Ranganathan Street as well as North and South Usman Road.
This was after SFRSD did a safety audit of 150 buildings in 2011 and highlighted the need to set up a hydrant system with pillar hydrants at every street corner with a water sump of sufficient size and fire fighting pump of required quality.
“This could go a long way in providing some degree of fire protection,” the report stated.
However, a fire hydrant system alone was not enough. Shoppers in many multi-storied buildings in T Nagar may have less than a slim chance of survival during a fire outbreak as most of the buildings offered no fire escape staircase.
The two-day survey of T Nagar multi-storeyed buildings by the SFRSD found that the buildings had failed to adhere to the norms stipulated by the National Building Code which required that for every 500 sq.m. two exits of sufficient width should be provided and at least one of them should be a fire escape staircase connected to the ground level. The code states that lifts and escalators should not be considered exits.
The irony is that some of the buildings hardly have any fire escape staircase.
“In some buildings only one fire escape staircase is provided and in most cases the fire escape staircases are piled with goods and block movement. That makes them ineffective for evacuation during emergency,” the SFRSD stated.
The report also states that while some of the buildings have Very Early Warning Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA), the sound alarm was not connected to the integrated Building Management Systems.