Hands full with highrise checks, BMC fire brigade to expand cell

The Mumbai Fire Brigade which has been inspecting highrise buildings in the city for fire safety norms, will expand its fire inspection cell by including more fire officers. Of the 1,857 buildings inspected so far, only 237 have fully complied with fire safety norms, according to information from the fire brigade.

"While we have issued notices to over 1,000 buildings for not following fire safety norms, there are still over 5,000 more highrise buildings to inspect. We have a cell of 70 officers and will be adding more officers," said Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Suhas Joshi.

The fire brigade is in the process of taking legal action against four buildings in Tardeo, Andheri (west and east) and Bhandup for flouting fire safety rules. Of the 52 hospitals inspected in the city, 17 have been issued notices. Only five were found to fully comply with regulations.

The fire brigade also said that the major cause for fire in the city was short circuit from faulty electrical appliances. A whopping 3,131 fires have been caused due to short circuits. Careless disposal of inflammable material is the second biggest cause. Since March 2012, the brigade received 1,478 emergency fire calls from the island city, and 1,822 from the suburbs.

To cut response time, the fire brigade will set up on priority five more fire stations at Priyadarshini Park, Kanjurmarg, Thakur Village in Kandivali (east), Kanderpada in Dahisar, and Ghatkopar (east).

At present, there are 15 fire stations in the city, 12 in the western suburbs, and six in the eastern suburbs. "We are planning 26 more fire stations but right now we are looking to set up five on priority," said deputy chief fire officer P Rahangdale.

In an effort to fully utilize its fire safety budget, the brigade is also acquiring sophisticated rescue equipment such as a hydraulic platforms that will reach 90 metres high, a radio trunking communication system and cardiac ambulances. For beach safety, the brigade said it will be acquiring watercraft and RIV vehicles to patrol the seaside.

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