Fire Safety Regulations In Places Our Children Visit- Are We Careful?

The recent reports of fire tragedies claiming the lives of innocent children has sent shockwaves across the Nation. How are we as parents aware of the protocols even?
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Over the weekend, the gory news reports of a fire breaking out in a gaming zone in Rajkot and a newborn children’s hospital in Delhi have made the headlines. As a parent when I read them, my heart skips a beat.

A fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot claimed the lives of over 40 people, including 9 children. In another heart-wrenching incident, more than 7 newborns perished in a fire at a hospital in Delhi. These tragedies raise an urgent question: how safe are the places our children visit?

These are places we assume are safe for kids. We assume things are in control. But when we read news reports of so many lives lost due to negligence, it makes us wonder- where are we headed, as a society? Aren’t rules and regulations and compliances, not a serious matter after all?

Image source: Reuters

The Rajkot fire was particularly devastating, revealing severe negligence in adhering to fire safety regulations. According to reports, the gaming zone lacked the required fire safety clearance from the city’s municipal corporation.

Furthermore, it had only one emergency exit, despite regulations mandating multiple exits in public buildings to ensure safe evacuation during emergencies. These lapses significantly hindered rescue efforts, leading to a higher number of casualties.

Source: NDTV

The situation at the Baby Care New Born Hospital in Delhi was equally dire. The hospital was said to have no fire-fighting arrangements, no installed fire extinguishers, and lacked proper entry and exit arrangements, including an emergency exit. These critical oversights resulted in the tragic loss of innocent lives.

How are these instances happening frequently in our country? Are systems and protocols not in place?

Sadly they are. But the loopholes within the system is what makes it okay to bypass them. As parents are we even aware of the rules and regulations required for a building to obtain fire safety clearance? We found out.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau, about 60 people die every day due to fire in India. As per a report on FirstPost survey conducted by the social media platform LocalCircles revealed:

  • Only 18 per cent of respondents said the fire safety equipment in their residential area undergoes annual inspection
  • Of those surveyed, 19 per cent were unsure if their fire extinguishing systems worked
  • 27 per cent admitted to never ensuring compliance
  • 3 per cent had a fire extinguisher but lacked other safety measures
  • 21 per cent hadn’t considered fire safety
  • 12 per cent didn’t provide a clear response

India follows the National Building Code of India 2016 (Fire and Life Safety) for comprehensive guidelines on the construction, maintenance, and fire safety of buildings. Initially published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 1970 and last updated in 2016, the NBC is the country’s primary standard for fire safety. It provides detailed instructions on general construction requirements, building maintenance, and fire safety, serving as a benchmark for all construction-related agencies. Read the full report here.

To summarise, the 2016 National Building Code (NBC) published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), gives clear guidelines for fire safety from all aspects including:

  • Clear Evacuation Routes: Marked, unobstructed, and well-lit paths.
  • Fire-Resistant Materials: Use in construction to prevent fire spread.
  • Detection & Alarm Systems: Automatic systems for prompt alerts.
  • Firefighting Equipment: Accessible extinguishers, hose reels, and sprinklers.
  • Emergency Lighting: Ensures visibility during power outages.
  • Regular Drills & Training: Essential for staff and children preparedness.

Despite these comprehensive guidelines, the recent incidents in Rajkot and Delhi expose a critical gap in compliance and enforcement.

It’s about time we asked the right questions and demanded stricter enforcement of fire safety norms. Share your thoughts and join the conversation on ensuring safer environments for our children.

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