Fire safety audit report: Lax firefighting system at Civil Secretariat

Loose and temporary electrical wiring found in the building; fire extinguishers not refilled on due date

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: June 4, 2016 5:21 am
A view of Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh A view of Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh

The offices of Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and other ministers at Civil Secretariat in Sector 1 are virtually a tinderbox. For, the fire safety audit report has pointed out serious anomalies in the firefighting system of the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat in an annual inspection carried out by the fire department.

Apart from loose and temporary electrical wiring in the building, the team found that the fire extinguishers installed there were not refilled on the due date. The exit areas for people which could be used if a fire breaks out were found either blocked or closed at some places. Hose reel, wet riser and hydrant accessories which are highly important for a proper firefighting system were found missing by the officials.

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The automatic fire detection and alarm system was not working; the system is highly important to alert people if a fire breaks out. These deficiencies in the firefighting system persist despite the fact that there was a major fire at the eighth floor of the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat in August 2014. Although the office was closed since the incident was reported in the evening, vital records of Haryana finance department were gutted. That time too, anomalies were found in the firefighting system of the building. This building sees hundreds of visitors daily.

A similar condition prevails at the Advanced Trauma Centre of PGIMER in Sector 12, which sees maximum visitors.

According to the fire safety audit report, the inspection team found that the mechanical ventilation was not connected with the automatic detection system. The intercommunication system of the lift was also not connected with the control room on the ground floor. The CO2 flooding system was not there in the electric panel.

The fire department will now act on the report. A senior officer of the fire department said they would send notices to the departments concerned where these discrepancies were found.

Already, the team has found shortcomings in the firefighting system of New Haryana Secretariat building that houses the offices of all the principal secretaries of Haryana; building of Principal Accountant General, Punjab and UT; and office of Customs, Excise and Income Tax in Sector 17.

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