Going by the Mumbai fire brigade’s records, no building in the city is fire-safe. Implemented in late 2010, the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Rules, 2009, made it mandatory for building residents and owners to conduct half-yearly fire-safety audits and submit the report to the fire department, but no one has complied with the requirement yet.
Frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm over a provision which was meant to enhance public participation, the fire department has said it should not be held responsible for fires in the city.
Chief fire officer Suhas Joshi said, “This act makes it clear that the onus of ensuring safety from fires lies with the owners and occupants. It is only after they submit this report that we inspect these buildings and give them a compliance certificate.”
“If these buildings catch fire, it will be solely their responsibility as they should have carried out these audits without waiting for the fire brigade’s directions,” said a senior fire official.
Among the most stringent safety laws to be enacted in the country, it empowers the fire department to disconnect a building’s water and power supply, and even evict occupants if they are found to be neglecting fire safety.