July 21, 2024
Maharashtra To Raise Fire Safety and Evacuation Standards In View of Rising Fire Incidents

Maharashtra To Raise Fire Safety and Evacuation Standards In View of Rising Fire Incidents

High-rise Fire

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], January 4: Maharashtra is currently passing through a phase of rapid infrastructure growth. The advanced breakthrough has propulsion the growth of high-rise construction across Maharashtra. As per last year’s statistics, Maharashtra has 6,712 high-rise buildings and 378 Skyscrapers, amongst which the capital city Mumbai alone has 3,629 high-rise constructions and 362 skyscrapers. That means Mumbai city dominates the Indian skyline with 77% tall buildings, as stated by the CBRE South Asia Report. 

The growth is permanent as the high-rise construction will always have the logic of being practical to resolve high-density urban development. With urbanization, the state is also proving its commitment to the safety of its citizens. Fire safety and Evacuation have become a critical aspect of building design and management, with a particular focus on ensuring the efficient evacuation of occupants during fire emergencies. The recent fire incidents like the One Avighna Park and Goregaon Jay Bhavani complex fire have made the government consider stricter rules and measurements for the safety of Occupants and Firemen. 

The Capital City Recorded 5,074 Fire Calls in 2023

In the current year, the capital city’s Fire Department has received 15,185 rescue calls, of which 5,074 were made for Fire Incidents. From 2021 to 2023, Mumbai itself recorded 13,556 Fire Calls, which killed around 65 and injured 753. 

The Senior Official of the Mumbai Fire Brigade Said, “Given the existing housing development and road infrastructure, we need a fire prevention plan to prevent fire incidents. The BMC and Fire Department have suggested the State Energy Department for Electrical Audits and installation of IoT-based systems in high-rise buildings. Timely notification of power failure through IoT system will prevent future fire hazards”. 

Why we need Stricter Measures for Fire Safety and Evacuation

As per the Fire Brigade, short circuits have been the reason for 80% of Fire Incidents. Road transport, traffic, narrow lanes, parking space, and negligence of Societies and Builders are the prime suspects of such fire emergencies. As high-rise buildings are rising, firefighters find it difficult to reach higher floors faster and safer to douse the fire on time. Residents have to wait for the fire brigade because they do not have adequate evacuation measures to evacuate themselves during a fire emergency. Rescuing aged people, pregnant women, infants, pets, and differently-abled people is another challenge. 

The Maharashtra government is working hard and fast under the leadership of the Shinde Government on specified evacuation norms for vertical safety in high-rise buildings. Maharashtra has become the first State to address these concerns by raising fire safety standards and introducing evacuation solutions in high-rise buildings. First time in India, the Energy Department, Municipal Corporation, and Fire Department are working together to help developers and occupants by providing a Fire evacuation Lift as a solution to fight fire emergencies and evacuate occupants safely. The State Energy Department Enactment dated 20th July 2022 has made it mandatory to install a Fire Evacuation Lift in Buildings having a height of 70 meters or above. In Mumbai, 40 Fire Evacuation Lifts have already been installed, and 150 lifts are underway. But we need to make stricter and unaltered guidelines to be followed by all the cities of Maharashtra. To build a safer infrastructure Builders/Developers, Societies, and Occupants need to adhere to the State’s Fire Safety and Evacuation norms.  

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Says,

The government of Maharashtra has always worked on policies and regulations which are suitable for the welfare of the people. Speaking about the safety standards, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra said, “It is required to follow the rules and guidelines to prevent disasters like the Goregaon Fire. The State Government’s respective departments are working on revised Lift Guidelines for safer Infrastructure. It will also include the Fire Evacuation Lift Rules and its Specifications for the betterment of Maharashtra State and to set the ideology for other States to do so. We appreciate the responsible department for their future-forward thinking by introducing a technologically advanced Fire Evacuation Lift. Soon, Maharashtra will be the first State to address the Fire Safety and Evacuation Challenges to such an extent.”  

Experts View 

Dr. Deepak Monga, a Fire Safety and Evacuation Expert, said that an Evacuation Lift, Electrical Audit, and Maintaining Fire Safety Equipment provide a facility to assist fire during sudden fire emergencies. Having a Fire Evacuation Lift will assist firefighters in moving with more ease vertically through a building in carrying rapid evacuation of occupants in a fire emergency in high-rise buildings. Moreover, installing the lift in the mid-landing area is an added benefit to the builders, saving space of approx. 200 sq. ft per floor and saving FSI Cost. It is a win-win situation for firefighters, Occupants and Developers”.

An Industry Expert, Dr. Vikram Mehta, says, “The acceptance by the builders to install the Fire Evacuation Lift in future projects stands as a testimony to their commitment to safety, innovation, and prudent financial management. Its ability to facilitate swift, inclusive, and efficient evacuation, enhanced protection from smoke and flames, operate in adverse conditions, and strategically distribute points of egress make it a superior choice over traditional evacuation solutions”.

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