As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India witnessed 9,329 incidents of fire accidents in 2020. These incidents resulted in injuries to 468 individuals and 9,110 deaths. This amounts to twenty-five people losing their lives owing to fire accidents daily in India in 2020.
The impact of fire accidents is not limited to injuries and loss of life alone. Fire incidents also destroy property and cause economic loss. In 2020, out of the 9,110 deaths, 5,248 deaths were caused due to fire accidents in residential buildings, while 163 lives were lost due to commercial building fires.
Given the fire accidents and the potential damage they can cause, Fire Safety in India assumes immense importance.
What Is Meant by Fire Safety?
Fire safety refers to the guidelines and practices meant to minimise the destruction caused by fire. The objective of fire safety measures is to prevent the occurrence of a fire incident and control the fire after it ignites to limit the damage.
Major Regulations and Provisions Related to Fire Safety in India
- India's fire services are governed by the Twelfth Schedule of Article 243W of the Indian Constitution.
- Fire prevention and firefighting are the responsibilities of India's respective States and Union Territories. They come under the domain of Municipalities.
- The National Building Code (NBC) of India is the model code for structure construction and maintenance and fire safety measures.
- Published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), National Building Code (Fire and Life Safety) is a recommendatory document. It specifies practical measures for Fire Safety in India.
- State Governments were issued advisories on 18 April 2017 to mandatorily include the latest National Building Code of India 2016 Part IV (Fire and Life Safety) in their local building by-laws.
- Section 38 of the Factories Act, 1948 specifies the precautions and effective measures for fire safety in factories. Section 37 of the same act suggests measures to prevent explosion hazards.
- The Oil Industry Safety Directorate (OISD) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in India specifies measures for fire protection and handling hazardous chemicals safely.
- National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) provides guidelines for Fire Safety in India in public buildings, such as hospitals.
Concerns About Fire Safety in India
- Lack of uniform legislation for fire safety across all states.
- Poorly enforced regulations for Fire Safety in India.
- Most fire departments in India lack modern equipment, infrastructure, adequate funding for advanced firefighting technology, training opportunities for personnel, and proper organisational structure.
- Lack of public awareness about Fire Safety in India.
- Violation of fire safety norms by many commercial and residential buildings.
- Lack of proper maintenance of the fire prevention systems installed in many buildings.
- No clear provisions for fire safety audit in buildings.
There's no denying that Fire Safety in India needs to be enhanced. It is the responsibility of all parties involved, including the authorities, civic bodies, and general people, to ensure strict implementation and compliance with fire safety norms. Only then can we expect to minimise the risk of fire incidents.
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Main Causes of Fire Accidents in India
Among the major causes of fire accidents in India are:
- Electrical short circuit.
- Bursting of stove or gas cylinder.
- Negligence by humans.
- Improper storage and use of flammable items.
- Bypassing norms for Fire Safety in India.
FAQs on Fire Safety in India
Q.1. Which day is dedicated to Fire Safety in India?
The date 14 April is dedicated to Fire Safety in India and is celebrated as National Fire Service Day.
Q.2. What is the regulation to obtain Fire NOC for Fire Safety in India?
Fire NOC is to be obtained by all residential and commercial buildings having a height of more than 15m to ensure Fire Safety in India.
Q.3. Who issues NOC for Fire Safety in India?
NOC for Fire Safety in India is issued by the Fire Department Authority of the concerned state or municipality.
Q.4. Is audit for Fire Safety in India mandatory?
No, an audit for Fire Safety in India is not mandatory.
Q.5. How can HIRA be essential for Fire Safety in India?
Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment (HIRA) can be used to identify potential hazards threatening Fire Safety in India.