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Fire mishaps: Government offices in Kerala may soon sport smoke alarms, turn digital

A major fire at the Secretariat last year had given rise to much hue and cry, after the Opposition alleged a sabotage attempt by vested interests.

Published: 23rd January 2022 03:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2022 03:46 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala Government Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala Government Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Maintaining digital copies of important files, setting up smoke detection and alarm systems in record rooms and installing automatic detection and hotline systems are among the major directives by the state home department to tackle fire mishaps in government offices.

In view of back-to-back fire mishaps in government offices including the recent fire in the state Secretariat, the home department has now come up with detailed guidelines to prevent such incidents and ensure that important files are not destroyed.

The guidelines were issued based on the recommendations by the Director General, Fire and Rescue Services. The order pointed out that the guidelines were issued, as destruction of government documents could lead to major difficulties and delay in ensuring public services.

The order mandates a slew of measures in government offices including ensuring proper ventilation facilities and maintaining sufficient fire safety equipment. A major fire at the Secretariat last year had given rise to much hue and cry, after the Opposition alleged a sabotage attempt by vested interests.

The police had later submitted a report citing short circuit as the reason. It is in this backdrop that the government asked the fire and rescue department to come up with its recommendations.

Major guidelines 

  • The ventilation facilities to buildings should not be closed fully/partially. Sufficient ventilation should be ensured

  • Garbage materials and waste paper should be removed from offices from time to time

  • Garbage materials should not be kept on the staircase and on the terrace

  • Necessary preliminary fire safety equipment should be maintained at offices

  • Smoke detection and alarm system should be installed in record rooms and at places where important files are kept. To ensure that the alarm can be heard outside the building, hooters should be set up

  • Old electric systems should be replaced. It should also be ensured that RCCB/ELCB is set up in offices

  • Not more than one connection should be given from a single plug point

  • Open wiring should be completely avoided. In case of joints in wiring, ensure sufficient insulation

  • Flammable and hazardous materials that can easily catch fire should be kept away from switchboards, main switches and UPS

  • Important files should be kept in fire-resistant cabinets. Digital records of such files should be maintained, in addition a copy should be kept in another office

  • As in the case of banks, a hotline system with automatic detection that can send messages to the nearest fire station, should be set up in record rooms

  • Proper record rooms should be maintained in government offices. Many files should not be kept on top of one another

  • Steps should be taken to avoid files soaking in humidity, as this could lead to spontaneous combustion

  • Wiring in record rooms should be installed in such a manner that it can be disconnected from outside too

  • Record rooms should have sufficient exit width

  • Record rooms, server rooms and UPS rooms should have Total Flooding Systems installed with smoke/heat detection functions

  • Electric equipment should be switched off after office hours

  • No heater/induction should be used inside the office for cooking or other purposes

  • Employees should be given adequate training in preliminary fire and rescue activities

  • Fire audit and electric audit should be done in a timely manner



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