Govt schools give fire safety a miss

  • Deepa Sharma Sood, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Oct 14, 2014 15:00 IST

Not learning from the past incidents, most of the kitchens in government schools do not have any fire safety equipment. Even after several fire incidents, the authorities have not installed any fire safety equipment in government schools.

During a visit to Government Primary School, Kutbewal Gujran, it was found that the school did not even have a single fire extinguisher to handle any emergency. One of the teacher who wished not to be named said, “We don’t have fire extinguishers and neither buckets filled with sand in the school. The education department never instructed to install fire safety equipment and we do not even get funds to purchase fire safety equipment for school. We get only rs5,000 once a year for repair works and we even pay the electricity and water bills from our own pocket.”

The situation is no different in other government schools Government Primary School, Chohle, has strength of 200 students and there is only one fire safety extinguisher, which has not been refilled from the past five years. Government Primary School, Fatehgarh Gujran, has only one fire safety extinguisher that is of no use as it is not refilled from last six years.

A government primary teacher Balwinder Kaur said, “We have strength of 100 students in our school and every day cooks prepare meal in the kitchen. So we need fire safety equipment in the schools and there is a need to train the staff to handle any emergency situation.”

On May 12, a fire broke out in the kitchen of Government Primary School, Jawahar Nagar, due to leakage in cylinder pipeline. The school has strength of 170 students and only one fire safety extinguisher was installed in the school.

Even after this incident no steps have been taken to provide fire safety equipment to schools.
Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said, “I think there is a need of fire safety equipment in all government schools as the meal is cooked there everyday. For the safety of cooks, we need to install equipment in the kitchens and need to check that refilling is done from time to time.”

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