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Are govt schools waiting for a fire?

Nearly two dozen government model senior secondary schools in the city,with 1,500-2,000 students each,do not comply with the basic fire safety norms.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
February 14, 2009 2:58:09 am

Reply to RTI plea says around 25 schools do not comply with fire-safety norms

Nearly two dozen government model senior secondary schools in the city,with 1,500-2,000 students each,do not comply with the basic fire safety norms. Despite several notices by the Municipal Corporation,schools continue to provide an unsafe environment to children.

The Administration and the civic body have carried out regular checks followed by notices to schools asking them to install the necessary equipment.

The revelations were made by the Municipal Corporation in response to an application filed by a local resident under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Satinder Walia had sought information about the installation and requirement of fire-safety equipment in all government schools in the city and the action taken by the MC on this.

In its reply,the MC has given a list of nearly two dozen government model senior secondary schools where discrepancies pertaining to fire-safety galore. These schools are either located in villages or the southern sectors.

In the inspections carried out by the MC,the discrepancies revealed the requirement of fire extinguishers (from 5 to 20 units) in almost every school. While a few had the provision to install basic fire-extinguishing equipment,the others did not have it. In many schools,there was no trained person to operate fire-fighting equipment.

According to the notices issued by the MC,the minimum requirement in schools include fire extinguishers (5 kg each) with ISI certification on each floor,besides illuminated exit sign boards,unobstructed exit and corridors,regular checking of electrical fitting and installation,gas fittings in laboratories according to norms and standards and provision of fire extinguishers near computer rooms and laboratories.

Samwartak Singh,Director Public Instructions (Schools),said: “Two days ago,I issued notices to all principals to update their fire-fighting equipment. In schools with no such provisions,we will get the equipment installed. We are also in process of making budgetary provisions for this.”

P K Sharma,MC Additional Commissioner,said schools would be inspected after February 15. “The office of the DPI has been contacted to ensure that schools comply with the basic fire safety requirements. We want that at least two teachers and two students in each school be trained to deal with emergencies and prevent damage even before the fire brigades arrive,” he said.

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