How perfect the words of great Hollywood star are when we read the news papers covering the infamous Mantralay Fire. Surprisingly many of the readers of our column have messaged me that this particular topic I should take keeping in mind the safety awareness of the buildings. Though I am not a safety expert or advisor yet safety is more a common sense when it comes to the buildings is a fact! With all due respect to the event as well the people who lost their lives & sure as usual the battle will go on for months about who was at fault & what should have been done yet when it comes to disasters its again proved how poorly we are placed in terms of infrastructure or action plan. Though one thing has to be complemented that at least more than 6000 people were there & majority of them could make their way out is a fact too. But loss of property & information in form of files & data, what about them? We have seen the footage of Japan's earth quake & the fires all over it caused & the way people faced it & the footage of our rulers head quarter! What a contradiction in the behavior! When there is a basic rule of not using lifts in case of fire still people were using lifts, such a mistake & no one to take a single point control or charge of the situation? Fire hydrants were too far away from such an important building & no fire water storage tanks for building as important as Mantralay!
On this back ground it’s interesting to see the scenario about the current building norms each building above 15 meter height i.e. more than four floors has to have two stair cases as well there are norms for building above height of 21 meters by virtue of which its mandatory to have a system of fire hydrant i.e. down take lines with fire hose reel at each floor & a underground as well over head water tank of capacity ranging from 10,000 lit to 50,000 lit depending up on the height of the buildings. High rise buildings i.e. above 24 meters height has to have fire pumps at ground level as well on terrace floor & with separate electric supply of which electric meter is away from the regular meter boards. This is because of in case of fire first thing is to be done is shut of the electric supply & in that case the fire pumps should remain in operation. Also now the RCC frame work of the building too has to be designed pertaining the fire factor i.e. at least for four hours it should sustain the fire on parameter heat keeping in mind the structural stability. As this much time can be sufficiant to evacuate the building at such times.
Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune
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