The major fire mishaps in different parts of the state over the last few days calls for the need for proper fire-fighting mechanism, maintenance, and awareness on using them. In most cases preliminary measures to control the fire are hardly done. Inspections should be conducted every six months to ensure that buildings are equipped for fire fighting but dearth of staff makes it impossible. Usually the equipment and fire-fighting mechanism are put in place to get the no objection certificate, but once the units start functioning they are hardly given due importance, maintained or kept ready for use. Nobody takes the initiative to learn how to use the gadgets which are user-friendly with all instructions written clearly on them, but requires precision and presence of mind. “None of the schools, colleges, hospitals, industries or other establishments in the city are fully equipped to fight fire. The gadgets fail to operate during emergency due to poor maintenance. During our inspection we have noticed that fire escapes remain locked making it difficult to escape. Most importantly the water tanks or water earmarked for dousing fire is used for other purposes. In the case of automatic equipment ,
the valves are closed and fail to serve the purpose,” said a Fire and Rescue Services official. The capacity of the
fire extinguishers meant for the preliminary dousing is small and contents will be over within minutes. Care must be taken to aim the nozzle at the source of fire when the extinguisher is opened.
“In other states there is a separate wing to handle this but here attention is paid only when a mishap occurs. Due to shortage of staff we have invited schools, colleges, residents association for giving awareness but the response is poor,” said the official. “The city is like a bomb with many industries located in thickly populated areas. These should be shifted at least 25 to 30 km away from the city. Fighting arrangements are marked on the building plan but once the clearance is obtained fire safety is ignored. Authorities ensure that the requirements are satisfied when they learn about inspection. No ethics is followed,” said environmentalist S Sitaraman. District Collector Sheik Pareeth agreed that most industries, establishments andhigh-rises lack proper fire-fighting mechanism.
“Routine checkups are a must. We will verify whether major units and other buildings are equipped to fight fire. The Fire and Rescue Services has to be strengthened and new fire fighting technology introduced. Only Navy,
KRL and FACT have foam fire extinguishers. Clothes to withstand high temperature should also be secured,” he said.