by Akhilesh K Prasad
When it comes to hazard management, no building can be 100% fire safe. Home buyers should inspect the prospective project on some basic parameters before closing the deal, with a view to ensuring that the maximum fire safety. The following is a basic guideline for buying a fire safe home, which homebuyers should consider:
First and foremost, there should be sufficient open spaces around the building for a fire engine to manoeuvre. According to the Development Control (DC) Regulation 29, it is compulsory for any building with a height of more than 24 metres to have an open space of six metres or more around it. Builders often flout such fire safety rules in connivance with planning authorities and fire safety officers. Home buyers should, thus, verify whether the house they are buying has been built under this rule.
Staircases and emergency exits
The homebuyer should ensure that minimum fire safety provisions are in place. The building should have a special fire escape exit apart from the main passage or stairway. Taller buildings should have at least two staircases, each with a width of not less than two meters. Narrow staircases often prove a bottleneck in emergency evacuations and increase the risk of stampedes.
The inclusion of refuge areas in the floor plan can prove to be a lifesaver when it matters. Ideally, there should be one such area per seven floors. These are spaces free of combustible areas are open to air where residents can retreat to for easier rescue by the fire brigade. Additionally, a building premise should have recreational grounds, where rescued people can assemble.
Avoid encroachment of common areas
Residents must also play their part in ensuring fire safety after moving into their new home. They should refrain from encroaching on common areas, amenity spaces and using electrical ducts as storerooms. The fire exit must be clear of obstacles at all times.
The housing society should conduct mock drills. This way the residents and the staff will be trained for orderly evacuation and fire hazards and do not panic when a situation arises.
As we approach the summers, the likelihood of fires in building increases. If residents exercise a little bit of caution and ensure the aforesaid fire safety measures, the risk of lives lost and property damages can minimize.