Fire Safety and its Management

Dr. Jaspal Singh, Chief Engineer, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana
FIRE SAFETY is defined as the set of practices which are intended to decrease the destruction caused by fire. It also refers to planning and infrastructure design aimed at reducing the risk of fire or impeding the spread of a fire. Fire safety encompasses the use of fire-resistant building materials, preventative actions, safe work practices, fire safety training, flame-resistant protective clothing etc. In the event of fire, the three most important actions in chronological order are to:
  • Raise the alarm
  • Summon the fire brigade
  • Evacuate the building
With the rapid development and urbanization, more and more buildings are being built in densely populated areas. The fire safety of high-rise buildings have attracted people’s attention over years, due to their unique challenges, such as long evacuation time and distance, smoke movement and control, and fire department accessibility. Fire protection features are provided to ensure safety of these buildings in case of a fire. Fire safety provisions might not be provided in all public and residential buildings. There are some building codes which are enacted by the government to ensure various features as adequate fire exits, signage and construction details such as fire stops and fire rated doors, windows and walls.

National Building Code
The National Building Code (NBC) is published by Bureau of Indian Standards. The first edition of the NBC was published in 1970. The second edition of the NBC was published in 2005. The third edition incorporating the latest developments in the construction activities in the country of the NBC was published in 2016. The main objective of NBC is to provide the safety measures which will increase the degree of safety against fires that can be achieved reasonably. The code insists upon compliance with minimum standards of fire safety necessary for building occupants and users. For ensuring compliance of fire protection equipment/installations to the laid down quality requirements, it is desirable to use such equipment/installation duly certified under the BIS Certification Marks Scheme.

Fire Safety Management
Fire safety management is one of the most important aspects of fire safety in buildings. Effective fire safety management is a key element in the overall fire safety of a building and its occupants. Managers need to plan effectively to combat the potentially disastrous effects of a fire in their building and to meet the many requirements placed upon them by various pieces of fire legislation applicable to occupied buildings of all types and uses. This can be an extremely complex and time consuming task including issues such as:
  1. Evacuation procedures and responsibilities of all staff.
  2. Maintenance and testing requirements for the fire safety equipment.
  3. Management of contractors who may be working in the premises.
  4. Procedures to follow in the event of any alterations to the building.
  5. Methods of minimizing false alarms.
  6. Responsibilities for carrying out fire risk assessments.
  7. Specific procedures for special events.

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