Now, deputy fire chiefs to inspect premises

Tasked with surveying two malls and high rises a month

Mumbai: A new circular by the Mumbai Fire Brigade mandates even deputy chief fire officers (DCFOs) to inspect premises to look for fire safety violations. This is part of the inspection cells created by the Fire Brigade after the Kamala Mills fire. DCFOs will have to inspect at least two malls and high-rise buildings every month.

After a fire in the Kamala Mills compound killed 14 people last year, civic agencies cracked down upon irregularities in construction and issued codified fire safety requirements for each type of structure. For the first time, the Fire Brigade created 34 separate inspection cells with around 80 officers to conduct regular inspection since fire prevention is also its responsibility under the Fire Act, 2006. However, the cell was criticised because several officers did not meet the requirements to be appointed for inspection.

In order to iron out these problems, Additional Municipal Commissioner I.A. Kundan held a meeting recently, and legal opinion was sought. A decision is awaited. The Fire Brigade has come up with a new circular detailing a standard operating procedure for inspection and duties of every officer. It requires officers to acquire the CFO’s permission before sealing any premises, which was not required earlier. They will have to email the CFO for permission in a case.

“Our intention is fire prevention. The targets are easily achievable and not unreasonable. It has also increased the responsibility of the CFO, who will have to give permissions in due time. Besides, we will now have centralised monitoring,” said Chief Fire Officer P.S. Rahangdale.

The circular has mandated that all DCFOs inspect at least two premises every month. There are eight DCFOs in the fire brigade. They are supposed to inspect five-star hotels, malls, commercial buildings and high-rises. The number has been fixed at three for Divisional Fire Officers and four for Additional DFOs.

It says establishments with complaints against them, or have submitted fire audit form, shall be inspected first. A report will be sent to the CFO every fortnight.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:09:31 PM |

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