60% of BBMP buildings in Bengaluru lack proper fire safety systems

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A concerning report from Bengaluru has come to light

According to a new report, 60 per cent of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) buildings do not meet the fire safety standards set by the National Building Code (NBC).

The significance of fire escape staircases

The recent fire at the BBMP’s quality control laboratory, which did not have a fire safety system as per NBC norms, is a stark reminder of this lapse in safety standards.

Nine staff members at this laboratory sustained burn injuries due to this incident.

The NBC dictates that any building with three or more floors, as well as laboratories where experiments are conducted, should have “fire escape staircases”.

State of fire safety in BBMP buildings

Beyond the laboratory, more than 60% of the BBMP’s buildings across Bengaluru don’t have these vital safety staircases.

When the fire occurred, the laboratory was not adequately equipped with fire extinguishers.

To control the fire, extinguishers had to be procured from other locations.

A high-ranking BBMP official revealed: “The Palike‚Äôs building lacks a fully operational fire fighting system.”

Adding further: “As per my knowledge, even the mandatory ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the fire and emergency services was not obtained for the quality control laboratory.”

The civic body’s engineers have not yet provided the police with the documents they have requested.

Response from the authorities

A senior police officer from Halasuru Gate police station said: “We had served a notice to BBMP Engineer-In-Chief BS Prahalad asking for details about the quality control laboratory, its safety standards, staff numbers, and CCTV footage.”

However, BS Prahalad explained he could not visit the police station immediately due to his involvement in a BBMP committee investigating the fire.

The police will commence their investigation once they receive all necessary details from BBMP.

IFSJ Comment

Reports like these underscore the pressing need for more stringent enforcement of fire safety regulations, especially in rapidly urbanising cities like Bengaluru.

With a significant percentage of BBMP buildings not adhering to NBC norms, the lives of countless residents and workers are at potential risk.

This incident serves as a stark reminder for civic bodies across the world to prioritise safety and ensure that infrastructural growth does not come at the cost of human lives.

We hope to see a proactive response from relevant authorities to enhance fire safety measures.

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