Fire dept for external lifts in new high-rises

  • Chetna Yerunkar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2015 12:49 IST

New high-rises in the city may have to include external elevators in the building plan for the speedy evacuation of residents during a fire.

The fire department has asked the municipal commissioner to make changes to the fire norms so that all buildings higher than 70 metres are equipped with such elevators.

The proposal has been on the anvil for months, but has got a push after a fire in a Powai high-rise killed seven people and injured 28 others. “We have proposed that the external evacuation system be introduced. This will help us evacuate people stuck in the buildings easily,” said PS Rahangdale, chief fire officer in-charge.

“We can have a clause in the DCR, this will make it mandatory for developers to have the system in place for buildings higher than 70m,” he said.

The elevator will be built on the outside of the building. During an emergency, the elevator that will otherwise be stationed at the terrace level can swing to the ground floor to take fire-fighters up the building.

The elevators have escape pods, which will swing out to carry residents – who would have assembled in the refuge area – to safety. The elevators are managed through a wireless remote.

Fire officials said the technology can be incorporated during the construction phase. The external elevators will be an effective alternative to snorkels, especially with the increasing number of high-rises in the city. At present, the city has only one snorkel that can reach the 70-metre height, at the Byculla fire station.

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