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Chandigarh: Audit flags loopholes in fire safety at restaurants, educational institutes

Hydrants, smoke detectors, alarm system were all non-functional. Even the hose pipes were not working and the CO2 cylinder which ought to be there were absent: Anil Kumar Garg, Chief Fire Officer

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: January 17, 2018 3:15 am
A team of the fire department in Sector 35, Chandigarh, Tuesday. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

IN A surprise fire safety check at educational institutes, restaurants, microbreweries and other public buildings, the Chandigarh fire department found major discrepancies in the fire safety systems installed. Most of the fire safety equipment installed was found to be out of order or non-functional by the team that carried out inspection at 14 such buildings.

The worst condition was at the basement of Panjab University, Chandigarh where the officials found several shortcomings. Additional Commissioner who is also the chief fire officer, Anil Kumar Garg said that not even a single piece of fire safety equipment was working in the basement of Panjab University. “Hydrants, smoke detectors, alarm system were all non-functional. Even the hose pipes were not working and the CO2 cylinder which ought to be there were absent,” he said.

He added, “This is the situation when just two days ago, fire broke out in the hostel here and there have been so many incidents in the past here. Still, there is no compliance.” The Vice Chancellor also came on the spot and the team showed him the irregularities. The team checked the Post-Graduate Government College for Girls and Post Graduate Government College (Coed) in sector 11 and found similar shortcomings. The alarm systems, sprinkler systems were not working,” an official of the fire department said.

Garg said inspection was carried out at restaurants, microbreweries and known eateries too where, yet again, the fire safety systems were found to be non-functional. “At The Brew estate and Kingdom of Beer in sector 26, the system was put up merely for display as it was all out of order. Rather, here when the staff was asked, they didn’t even know how to operate the system,” the Additional Commissioner said. Checks were conducted at Gopal sweets, Peddlers, Union bank of India and McDonalds in Sector 35 as well.

Madan Lal, station fire officer, said, “At UBI, the smoke detector system was working but the sprinkler system and other important equipments were not functional. Proper illuminated signs for entry and exit were also not there. Similarly at McDonalds, the smoke detectors were working but the hydrants, hose reels and others were out of order.”

The Additional Commissioner said that similar situation was found at Gopals and Peddlers. “ Even at these known eateries and restaurants which see hundreds of visitors daily, they should be careful,” he said.

The fire department has issued warning letters to all the erring buildings. “ What all was missing and what needs to be rectified has been conveyed to all of them. After this, we will issue notices if they dont comply with the directions,” Garg said. The fire audit will continue at all other institutes and buildings.

The Chief Fire officer said that owners or managers all the buildings where checks were done told the team that they would take corrective measures at the earliest.

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