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Chandigarh MC fire department finalises fire-safety norms for PGs

The development comes a day after the UT administration made it mandatory for those running these facilities to obtain no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the fire department in the wake of the fire tragedy at a PG facility in Sector 32 last Saturday, which claimed lives of three girl students
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Vivek Gupta, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2020 12:53 AM IST

The Chandigarh municipal corporation’s fire department on Saturday finalised fire-safety norms for paying guest (PG) accommodations in the city.

The development comes a day after the UT administration made it mandatory for those running these facilities to obtain no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the fire department in the wake of the fire tragedy at a PG facility in Sector 32 last Saturday, which claimed lives of three girl students.

According to the norms, a fire-safety NOC will not be issued unless PG owners install ISI-marked fire extinguishers, automated sprinkler system, illuminated exit signboards and an exclusive terrace water tank, with a capacity of 5,000 litres, for fire emergencies.

There is an additional requirement of a hose reel system and manually operated electronic fire alarm system in case the PG premises have more than 15 rooms. An additional terrace water tank of 5,000 litre capacity is required if the basement area is above 200 square metre.

Chief fire officer Anil Garg said these norms have been sent to the UT administration for approval. The norms will become applicable once the nod is received.

The MC fire department has already started inspecting registered PG facilities, based on the list shared by the UT estate department. There were around 100-odd registered PG facilities in the city when the fire tragedy struck in an unregistered facility last Saturday. As many as 32 new PG accommodations have been registered with the estate department in the past one week.

No compartments using flammable material

The fire department has also listed additional precautions in addition to the above norms. Prominent among them is the strict prohibition of making compartments in rooms using flammable material.

In the Sector 32 PG facility, rooms had been divided further using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wall panels while the roof was also covered with fibre and tin sheets, leaving no escape for the smoke. Two of the three victims had died of suffocation.

Apart from it, the guidelines say that PG accommodations having floor area of 500 square metre must have access to a minimum two exits.

There must be adequate provision of natural ventilation and lighting. The entire furniture must be treated with flame-resistant material. Dumping of any sort of waste material or volatile or flammable liquids is strictly prohibited.

All escape routes must remain clear of any sort of obstruction, round the clock. All electrical wirings and installations must comply with the Bureau of Indian Standard norms.

The rules also make it mandatory for PG owners, employees and occupants to have basic know-how of using the fire-safety equipment. They must also conduct periodic evacuation drills in consultation with the fire department.

Box:

WHAT ARE THE NEW NORMS TO GET FIRE NOC

PGs with up to 15 rooms

ISI-marked fire extinguishers on all floors

Automated sprinkler system in the entire building

Exclusive terrace water tank with a capacity of 5,000 litres for fire emergency

Illuminated exit signboards at all escape routes

Two-way fire brigade connection to the building

PGs with 16 to 30 rooms

All the above norms

Hose reel system in entire building

Motor pump with discharge capacity of 450 litres per minute along with the exclusive water tank

An additional terrace fire water tank of 5,000 litres if the basement area is above 200 square metres

PGs with more than 30 rooms

All the above norms

Manually operated electronic fire alarm system

BOX

No PGs in buildings higher than 15 metre

The norms specify that buildings with more than 15 metre (around 50 feet) height cannot house a paying guest facility

“Most houses in Chandigarh are 33-to-35-foot high, for which norms have already been specified,” said an official. “This provision was incorporated so that multistorey buildings are not used for PGs.”

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