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Fire Safety Audit Need of Hour

A fire can happen at any time at any place. The recent major fires that occurred in various parts of country during the last few months, reinforce the view that a fire can happen at any place. You can expect a fire at any structure, irrespective of its occupancy status – residential / commercial / industrial / hospitals / theaters / malls and so on… It means that a fire in any structure has the potential to cause harm to its occupants and property. However, when it comes to residential buildings, in particular, high rise buildings, the problem becomes more complex and poses very high risk to the life and property of its occupants. The magnitude of the problem can be reduced only when the structures are designed, constructed, equipped, maintained and operated with a view to save the life and property of its occupants. Therefore, any structure or building should be erected only after meeting the basic infrastructure needed to protect them from fire and explosion, and even to withstand natural calamities like earthquake, lightening, etc. NBC recommends for periodical fire safety inspection by the key personnel of the occupants of the building. to ensure fire safety standards. In case of industrial buildings the statutory authorities insist for fire safety audits by external agencies depending on the type of activity and nature of materials handled in the buildings. The Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Rules, 2009, made it mandatory for building owners and residents to conduct half – yearly fire safety audits and submit the report to the fire department. As per the directive of Directorate of Maharashtra Fire Services, the safety audit has to be conducted by the ‘Licensed Agency” approved by them.

FIRE SAFETY AUDIT :

Fire safety Audit is aimed to assess the building for compliance with the National Building Code of India, relevant Indian Standards and the legislations passed by various state governments and local bodies, on fire prevention and life safety measures. Safety Audit is a form of risk analysis and evaluation in which a systematic investigation is carried out in order to determine the extent to which the conditions are present that provide for the development and implementation of an affective and efficient safety policy. The main objective of safety audit is to carry out a systematic, critical appraisal of all potential hazards involving personnel, plant services and operation method, and to ensure that safety and health system fully satisfy the legal requirements.

The objectives of Fire Safety Audit can be focused on the following:

• Identify all significant fire hazards

• Identify the people who are at risk from each hazards.

• Evaluate the existing control measures.

• Determine the additional control measures required.

• Examine the availability of suitable emergency plan detailing responsibility and action of key personnel.

• Review the availability of suitable fire alarm and detection system.

• Review the availability of suitable fire fighting facilities, such as hydrants, sprinklers, extinguishers, etc.

• Evaluate passive fire protection systems provided.

• Evaluate the general awareness of occupants and security personnel on matters relating to fire safety and rescue operations.

• Evaluate the training and instructions on fire safety imparted to the employees and occupants.

• Testing of all fire safety equipment and systems.

Conclusion:

Fire safety audit is an effective tool for assessing fire safety standards of an organization or occupancy. A comprehensive fire safety audit should address the inherent fire hazardous associated with the day to day activities in an occupancy and recommend measures to reduce the potential fire hazards. In spite of bringing stringent fire safety regulations by many state governments and local bodies, still the numbers of fires in the country are on the increase, resulting in the loss of many life and property.

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bobby.joseph@ryggradconsulting.com
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parish.tekriwal@ryggradconsulting.com
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