IFSJ Influencer: Ajit Raghavan, National President, FSAI

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National President of the Fire & Security Association of India, Ajit Raghavan, shares his views and predictions for the fire and safety industry for the year ahead

India has seen a surge in demand driven by the rising construction of smart homes and buildings in the residential and commercial sectors, enforcement of NBC 2016 by several governments and extensive media coverage of recent fire-related incidents.

Part 4 of the National Building Code (NBC) of India, 2016, ‘Fire and Life Safety’ is quite comprehensive and covers the requirements for fire prevention, life safety in relation to fire and fire protection of buildings. The code specifies occupancy-wise classification, constructional aspects, egress requirements and protection feature that are necessary to minimise danger to life and property from fire. NBC Part 4 also specifies guidelines for drills and evacuations for high-rise buildings and mandates the appointment of a qualified fire officer.


Fire service is a state subject and has been included as a municipal function in the XII schedule of the Constitution. In many states, municipal corporations and local bodies are responsible for providing fire services. Hence, adoption of NBC 2016 guidelines is left to the state thereby resulting in a lack of Uniform fire safety legislation.

There is an overall gap of more than 65% in terms of number of Fire Stations in the entire country. Furthermore, attendance time, fire cover and rescue operations are exacerbated by delays in reaching buildings, especially tall buildings often located in densely populated and congested urban areas with traffic gridlock.


BIS has been harmonizing its standards with the standards of ISO by adopting these standards as Indian standards.

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) has accredited UL’s Fire Laboratory in India called UL – Jain Fire Laboratory (UL-JFL), the first-of-its-kind facility the company established as a joint venture with the Jain University in 2016.

UL–JFL will support the fire protection manufacturing community in India with globally renowned capabilities at affordable cost.


Design criteria stipulated in BIS standards for fire protection, normally adopted by government organisations, differ from NFPA or BS/EN/ISO standards. Most of the consultants do not specify fire rated cable for general power systems, HVAC, fire alarm, security, and communications systems for the DCOA (Designated critical operations areas) to ensure that the cable will continue to operate in the presence of a fire, also identified as Circuit Integrity Cable.

Pre-formatted checklists are not available in current IS codes to instil confidence on the effectiveness of the FP systems provided and most importantly personnel associated with inspection, testing and maintenance are not trained to the required level of competence for evaluating system performance.

The Fire Suraksha Index (FSI) formulated by Fire and Security Association of India (FSAI) is a fire rating that has been introduced wherein the building owners can fulfil the compliance requirements stipulated in the FSI guidelines and earn a rating for the fire and life safety quotient of the building. This will augur well for the fire and life safety of the building occupants.

About the influencer

Ajit Raghavan has spent more than 30 years in the Fire, Security, Cable & Engineering Industry in the Asia & Middle East Regions. Currently he is the National President (2022-24) of Fire & Security Association of India (FSAI). He was the National Secretary of FSAI in 2007-08 & 2015-2016. He is also on the Bureau of Indian Standards committee CED 22: Fire Fighting Sectional Committee & CED 36: Fire Safety Sectional Committee.

This article was originally published in the November edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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