Fire brigade chief cites lack of staff as reason
The short-staffed Pune fire brigade has not been able to carry out safety audit of any government building in the city for at least six-seven years. Chief Fire Officer Prashant Ranpise said as per rules,a fire safety audit of every government building should be conductred at least once a year. But due to shortage of staff,we have been unable to do it. We have only 10 officers,while the actual requirement is of 35 officers, he said.
Due to shortage of officer,13 private agencies were given licences for conducting fire safety audits. The 14 wards in the city are divided among these agencies, he said.
Ranpise added that these agencies were given licences in June 2011,but they have not submitted reports for any government offices. In a meeting last week,we asked these agencies to conduct a fire safety audit of government buildings in their jurisdictions and submit the report to us, Ranpise added.
Sources said the agencies mainly look after fire safety audits of private buildings.
The Mantralaya blaze in Mumbai has thrown light on the lapses in fire safety arrangements in government offices. Several important government offices like the Central Building,District Collectorate,Pune Zilla Parishad and important police establishments are located in Pune city.
Ranpise said as per the National Building Code of 2005,any structure taller than 15 m needs proper fire fighting systems. We have installed fool-proof fire fighting systems at the new Government Building,the new Central Building and the Zilla Parishad office. Buildings that are less than 15 metres tall have fire extinguishers, he said.
The Pune fire brigade is also facing shortage of fire fighters. At present,it has around 400 firemen. Ranpise said that they need at least 800 firemen. We have submitted proposals in this regard to the state government, he said.
The fire brigade,however,has conducted mock drills at some government offices as demanded by the authorities concerned.