Cinemas in district lack facility to tackle fire

No response to fire force directive

Published - November 10, 2014 09:38 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:

Most cinema halls in the district do not have proper firefighting mechanism at their disposal and strategy to evacuate people in case of an emergency situation.

The absence of wherewithal to tackle fire came to light after the Fire and Rescue Services Department directed owners of cinemas to inform them about the measures they adopted to deal with an emergency situation.

An official in the Fire and Rescue Services Department said except for five cinemas in the city that were renovated recently, none had responded to the direction.

Two weeks ago, the department directed the city Corporation, municipalities, panchayats, and the licensing authorities to initiate further proceedings against the cinemas not having firefighting facilities in their respective jurisdiction.

“Our physical verification of the cinemas revealed absence of firefighting measures. It is up to the licensing authority to decide on the future course of action. They can either give time for the owners to comply with fire safety norms or initiate action for violating the mandatory norms,” he said.

It had been found that several cinemas do not even have in place conventional firefighting methods such as extinguishers and buckets filled with water and sand, the official added.

The prescribed guidelines to tackle fire include construction of a tank having a capacity of at least 15,000 litres of water and connected with a hosepipe. The hosepipe should be long enough to be connected to the fire tenders of the fire service department.

High-rise cinemas should be fitted with booster pumps, fire extinguishers, water sprinklers, water hydrants, fire exits, fire and smoke detectors and wet risers.

A cinema hall should have radium stickers indicating emergency exits and emergency lights with backup batteries.

The official said these firefighting measures were necessary to deal with a major fire accident and non-fulfilment of these requirements could bring disaster.

The installation of firefighting equipment is not a very costly affair, particularly for those operating cinemas in the city.

They should realise the damage a fire could cause to life and property. They should remember the fire accident at the Uphaar theatre in Delhi many years ago, the official added.

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