Visitors to mall educated on escaping from scene of disaster

With festivals coming up and set to bring large crowds into shopping complexes, the Fire and Rescue Services Department have got into sensitisation of the public and owners of these complexes to fire safety and rescue measures.

The sensitisation, however, came with a strong caution that all precautionary measures must be in place in all such buildings where public movement was high, especially during festivals.

Divisional Fire Officer (Coimbatore and the Nilgiris) N. Subramanian said the Fire and Rescue Services Department was looking at preventing fire, the resultant stampede and minimising loss of lives and property during building collapse.

On Tuesday, the department demonstrated fire-fighting and rescue measures at Brookefields Mall.

Led by Mr. Subramanian, fire and rescue services personnel showed how swiftly trained staff of the mall needed to spot the location of a fire and put it out swiftly.

Shown along with this were steps to evacuate people.

Asked why the department chose a mall this time, as against industrial units, hospitals and airport earlier, the official said malls witnessed huge crowds and these establishments had to be in a state of preparedness to preventing anything untoward.

“Every such mall has three areas demarcated as low hazard, medium hazard and high hazard. The number of fire-fighting equipment and other provisions varied with the category.

Fire extinguishers are placed on a square metre basis on every floor of a mall. Every mall must have adequate number of smoke detectors, sprinklers and water hydrants,” Mr. Subramanian said.

Staff members trained in rescue measures should be deployed on all floors. Tuesday’s programme also educated the public visiting the mall on escaping from the scene of disaster without causing problems for each other, especially a stampede.

Asked what the department does to ensure all safety measures were in place, Mr. Subramanian said fire safety certificates would not be issued for buildings if they did not conform to norms, including those stipulating the number of exits for evacuation.

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