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Fire safety norms not followed strictly

IT SEEMS neither authorities nor people are serious about fire safety measures set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The Meerut inferno, which claimed a large number of innocent lives, is one of the latest examples of negligence on the part of the authorities concerned.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2006 01:21 IST

IT SEEMS neither authorities nor people are serious about fire safety measures set up by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The Meerut inferno, which claimed a large number of innocent lives, is one of the latest examples of negligence on the part of the authorities concerned.

Though there are 23 safety measures put in place by the BIS vide IS 8758-1993 for temporary tents or structures, administrative authorities care little for the safety norms.

According to the BIS, the height of the canvas covering should not be less than three metres, synthetic cloth or rope should not be used in the covering and the canvas covering should not be made under electric wires. Moreover,  exit gate should have a width of five metres and the height of the same should be more than five metres.

The distance of canvas covering should not be more than 45 metres so that in case of fire the fire fighters could have an easy approach to the site. The covering should be done in such a manner that in case of emergency, one should not cover a distance of more than 15 metres.

About the sitting arrangements, side path by the side of rows chairs should be of 1.2 meter and after 12 chairs there must be a gap of 1.5 metre. Precautions should also be taken by fixing the chairs in a group of four to avoid any disturbance in case of emergency.

The electric services should be taken from the authorities concerned and it should be ensured that no wire is left open. Besides, all connections made for tube-lights and other electrical equipment should have at least a distance of 15 centimetre.

Fire-prone equipment like halogen lights, any type of furnace, if at all necessary then a tin-shed should be used for the same.

Other important measures are: There must be two buckets of water in each 50 sq meter area of the covering and there must be a full tub of water for 100 sq meter area. Besides, fire extinguishers of 9-litre capacity should be arranged to tackle fire incidents.

Most of times, fire fighting officials shrug off their responsibility by saying that they are not empowered to carry out inspections of pandals and tents. Instead, they put the ball in the district administration’s court by saying that it is the district administration officials who give permission to set up pandals and tents and it is their responsibility to direct the fire officials to check weather safety steps are taken.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Additional District Magistrate Abrar Ahmad said the district administration had been instructing all organisors to follow fire safety norms strictly. The unfortunate fire incident of Meerut is an eye opener for all of us and efforts are on to force safety measures strictly, he added.