The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services on Friday joined the social networking site Facebook with the aim of roping in youth.

Launching the Facebook account at a seminar, its Director R. Nataraj said the move is part of the measures to raise awareness about fire safety among youth, particularly students.

Audits had revealed that “fire safety deficiency” in the State, which includes the safety of the structures and lack of training to handle various situations, was as much as 85 per cent. “It [the level of deficiency] is only slightly better in Chennai,” he said.

The seminar on ‘Modern building fire safe design and constructions' was organised by the Institution of Fire Engineers UK – Southern India Branch and the Fire and Rescue Services.

The State government had established 300 more fire stations and sent a proposal to the Centre seeking Rs.380 crore to strengthen the infrastructure further.

Enhancing safety measures

The proposal is to enhance fire safety measures in cities with a population of more than a million, including Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore, Mr. Nataraj said.

According to Rajiv, Director General of National Disaster Response Force and Civil Defence, since only 17 States had a Fire Services Act it has been decided to have a Central Fire Services Act. Though advisory in nature it would help bring about uniformity in the rules and regulations. The NDRF has proposed to go in for a risk and hazard analysis in fire within the next year, he said. Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority's Monitoring Committee member M.G. Devasahayam called for providing powers to the Fire and Rescue Services to take action against those responsible for the fire accidents.

Sealing licences

It should have the power to approve buildings and seal and cancel licences in case of violations, he said.

Former Directors General of Police S. Ramani, K.V.S. Gopalakrishnan and Jagan M. Seshadri called for implementation of building safety codes, having internal systems for safety such as fire hydrants to augment water supply system and conducting fire safety and audit regularly. This would ensure that the person under whose tenure the building was declared fit would be pulled up in case of a fire, they said.

Deputy Fire Advisor to the Central government D. K. Shami said State governments should persuade the Centre to provide funds for the purchase of equipment and called for uniform training for fire personnel.

Secretary of the Institution of Fire Engineers, UK – Southern India Branch M. Namasivayam and joint secretary S. Veeramani spoke.

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