A response to a Right to Information query from the Directorate of Delhi Fire Services has shown that fire safety No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) have expired for over 30% of Delhi’s schools.
The RTI query on the status of fire safety certificates at the capital’s government, government-aided and unaided private schools was filed by the Delhi Parents’ Association. Fire safety certificates issued to schools by the fire department are valid for three years. The school authority concerned is required to apply for renewal of certificate six months prior to the date of expiry.
As per fire department data, of the 5,773 schools, certificates of 2,011 are older than three years. These include Delhi government schools, municipal corporation schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navyug schools and private schools.
This percentage is highest in Central Delhi and East Delhi — certificates have expired in 211 of 438 schools (approximately 48%) in the former, and in 586 of 1,402 schools (approximately 42%) in the latter. They have expired in 358 of 1,113 schools in South Delhi; in 339 of 1,095 schools in South West Delhi; in 325 out of 1,070 schools in North Delhi; and in 192 out of 655 schools in West Delhi.
In 62 schools, the last NOC had been issued in 2010 or earlier, which means their certificates expired five years ago.
Fire safety certificates are issued if schools meet the minimum standards of fire prevention and fire safety. Conditions for the certificate’s validity entail that all means of escape be kept free of obstructions at all times, and that all employees be acquainted with the use of fire safety equipment and methods of evacuation.