Many building owners in Kozhikode yet to follow fire safety norms

Even after the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) decided to carry out a fire safety audit as part of steps to prevent frequent fire outbreaks in the district, many owners of godowns, shopping centres and multistorey buildings, who were earlier held for violation of various safety norms, are yet to fall in line with the instructions issued.

The laxity was noticed mainly on the part of some private godown owners, and this has prompted the fire officials to report the matter to the District Collector for action. The main concern is the narrow ways leading to big storehouses with huge stock of inflammable goods.

Many commercial buildings still have blocked fire exits and firefighting equipment that are without proper annual maintenance. In some recent inspections, fire hydrants were found damaged. Similar is the condition of portable extinguishers in many locations.

Though a comprehensive fire audit by the police on S.M. Street identified risky elements, a scientific assessment is yet to be carried out in other vulnerable areas of the district. The proposed fire audit by the DDMA is expected to bring to light an overall picture of the alleged neglect on the part of building owners in other parts of the district.

According to Fire and Rescue Service department sources, some private hospitals, educational institutions and industrial units are also suspected to be violating fire safety norms.

A senior fire official said the next step as part of the enforcement of rules would be the suspension of building permits of violators apart from invoking other applicable sections under the Disaster Management Act. He said the local bodies concerned would be asked to tag such buildings as unfit.

The official also pointed out that some of the building owners met the criteria on a temporary basis to escape action by the inspection teams. “Such persons never renew the annual maintenance contract of their firefighting equipment to save money. In effect, they are fooling themselves, without cooperating with measures to avert tragedies,” he said.

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Printable version | May 13, 2022 11:41:52 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/many-building-owners-in-kozhikode-yet-to-follow-fire-safety-norms/article38274420.ece