Daily Hot Topic

Topic : Burning Issue: Fire Safety in India

GS-3 Mains : Disaster Management  

Revision Notes

Grim Reality

  • Recent fires in Delhi and Rajkot expose India’s vulnerability to fire disasters.
  • Over 7,500 fire accidents led to 7,435 deaths in 2022 (NCRB data).
  • Maharashtra and Gujarat account for 30% of fire-related deaths.
  • Incidents like Uphaar Cinema (1997), AMRI Hospital (2011), Kamala Mills (2017) highlight persistent neglect.

Reasons for Frequent Fire Accidents

  • Non-compliance with fire safety regulations (Rajkot gaming center incident).
  • Weak municipal oversight due to understaffing and resource constraints.
  • Neglect of existing guidelines in National Building Code (2016) and state fire safety rules.
  • Fire safety audits in National Building Code are only recommendatory, not mandatory.
  • Inadequate firefighting infrastructure – less than 40% of required fire stations in urban India.

Existing Standards

  • National Building Code (NBC) 2016: Provides fire prevention, protection, and life safety guidelines for buildings (Part 4).
  • State Fire Services Acts: Define fire service powers and enforce regulations.
  • BIS Standards: Set benchmarks for fire equipment (extinguishers, hoses, alarms).
  • Central Government Oversight: Director-General (Home Affairs) and National Fire Service College (Nagpur) manage fire safety and training.

Government Initiatives

  • 2023 Scheme: Upgrading fire services in states by 2025-26 (equipment, training, new stations).
  • Model Bill: Establishing efficient fire and emergency services at the state level.
  • NDMA Guidelines: Scaling, equipment, and training for fire services nationwide.
  • Fire Safety Audits: Mandatory audits every two years for buildings exceeding 15 meters.

The Road Ahead

  • Strict Enforcement: Rigorous enforcement of fire safety regulations and penalties for violators.
  • Infrastructure Investment: Addressing the shortage of fire stations (less than 40% in urban areas).
  • Municipal Capacity Building: Enhancing resources and training for regular fire safety inspections.
  • Policy & Monitoring:
    • Strict adherence to National Building Code and state fire safety regulations.
    • Regular audits, especially in vulnerable facilities (hospitals).
  • Accountability & Reforms:
    • Stringent penalties and legal action for violators.
    • Fast-track implementation of recommendations from past fire disaster investigations.
  • Prioritizing Healthcare: Ensuring fire safety in healthcare facilities due to flammable materials and vulnerable patients.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fire-safety-rules-rajkot-delhi-gujarat-challenge-hurdle-explain-failure-monitor-regulations/article68218102.ece#:~:text=What%20fire%20safety%20rules%20say,public%20address%20system%20for%20emergencies.

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