The state fire services department has made it mandatory for all new high-rises, which are above 45 metres in height or has a floor area of more than 2 lakh square feet, to install a fully functional fire-service kiosk within the premises.
The rule will also be applicable for education institutions equipped with air-conditioning, basement parking and having an auditorium with a capacity of more than 500 people.
While inaugurating a fire-service kiosk at Acropolis Mall in south Kolkata on Monday, director general of fire services Jag Mohan stressed on the need of such kiosks at all major highrises. “We are already giving recommendation for all buildings that are 45m tall and wherever there is a steady footfall. We are issuing this recommendation for quite a few months now. For all the new buildings that are coming up, this clause is included in the fire-safety recommendation. For the existing buildings, the law cannot be applied retrospectively but we are asking them too to set up the kiosks on their premises,” he said.
As per the new order, the department is recommending a dedicated kiosk measuring about 100ftX125ft area, preferably located on the ground floor, to be clubbed together with other service areas like security room, fire control room and reception with clear and easy access.
“We have seen that during an emergency, local residents and club members are the first to respond and start rescuing people from a fire-trapped place. They often do not have requisite tools, thus hampering the initial fire-fighting process. The fire-service kiosk needs to be equipped with some basic fire-safety tools that are available in a firetender,” Jag Mohan added.
The kiosk inaugurated at the mall on Monday has CO2 extinguishers, ABC-type extinguishers, ceiling hook, lock cutter, hammer, crowbar, insulated axe, stretcher, smoke hood, torchlight and sand buckets, in addition to inbuilt fire suppression and detection system.
Real estate developers have welcomed the move. Nandu Belani, president of the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai-Bengal), said the idea was good as it would give everyone access critical equipment in case of a fire. “No builder will have a problem investing space or resources,” he said.
Yashasvi Shroff, director of Alcove Realty, one of the developers in the consortium that built The 42, the tallest building in Kolkata, agreed that nothing was more important or valuable to a builder than life of people inhabiting in a building. “Now all major builders take care of the statutory requirements and take fire-fighting seriously. We will also implement the new rule,” he said.
Merlin Group chairman Sushil Mohta said they were even planning to conduct a fire drill for local club members with the councillor’s help to prepare everyone for any emergency situation.