CHENNAI: What is the level of fire safety in different categories of buildings? How many buildings will qualify for fire safety awards?
Answers to these questions may emerge from the responses to a contest announced by the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services Department for owners of best maintained high-rises and enclosed premises of public buildings such as shopping complexes, theatres, multiplexes, marriage halls, auditoria, hospitals, schools, colleges, other places of public assembly and large and medium scale industries.
The first prize of `fire safety awards 2005' carries a shield worth Rs. 50,000. The second and third prize winners will be presented with shields worth Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 20,000. Another 30 shields, each worth Rs. 10,000, will be given to "owners of safe premises, after considering the fire safety arrangements..."
According to a senior official, the Directorate of Fire and Rescue Services has not received any filled-in forms as yet. They are expected to trickle in soon. The last date for submitting the application is January 31. The application fee is Rs. 1,000. It has been tentatively decided to give the awards on April 14, Fire Service Day.
The contestants have to answer a list of questions. They will have to reply with details such as number of internal and external staircases and their width; whether the building has been provided with compartmentation (fire separation wall/fire resistance wall); whether fire retardant/resistance treatment has been given to curtains and furniture; whether an area has been earmarked for refuge; whether public address system has been installed; the number of fire lifts available; whether fire service inlet has been provided; number of fire pumps and their capacity; open space around the buildings and the last date on which a mock fire drill was conducted on the premises.
The Government has formed an Awards Recommendation Committee. It will constitute a screening committee to go through the details furnished by applicants.
The committee will also visit the premises to verify the claims.