Almost 15 to 20 cases of fire outbreak are reported from around Noida and Greater Noida every day. But do societies have a proper firefighting system?
A survey by City Spidey found that most of the high-rise buildings in sectors 76, 77, 78, 117, 118, 119, 120 and 121 in Noida are not compliant with norms prescribed by the Fire Department. Societies that do have a firefighting system in place have not been vetted by the Fire Department.
According to norms laid down by the Noida Fire Department, there should be at least one fire extinguisher installed within a radius of 15 m of each flat in multistorey buildings. Apart from this, there should be overhead and underground tanks from where to draw water in case of fire.
When City Spidey visited apartments such as Prateek Wisteria, Amrapali Platinum, Amrapali Zodiac and Gaur City in sectors 77, 119, and 120 respectively in Noida, it found that their firefighting systems were just gathering dust and had not even been checked to see whether they could be used in case of a small fire. In Amrapali Platinum, only one floor had a fire extinguisher, which was installed in 2012.
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) RP Khanna, a resident of Noida Sector 120, said, “Every building in a multistorey society should have a firefighting system. But in Noida the systems installed in most buildings are just an eyewash. Neither the has Fire Department taken the time to conduct a mock drill to assess their useability, nor has the developer paid any attention to importance of having a functional firefighting system.”
Yudhvir Singh, a resident of Noida Sector 77, said, “Many societies, some more than 20 storeys high, have come up in Noida over the past few years. But none of them have functional firefighting systems. What's worse, not even the Fire Department may have the means to help them if a fire breaks out, as its hydraulic platforms can cater to buildings only up to 14 storeys high.”
HS Malik, deputy director of the Noida Fire Department, told City Spidey that they were going to conduct an inspection of the high-rise buildings soon and any society found lacking in its fire-safety apparatus would be served notices. He, however, agreed added that the department was facing a shortage of staff. "We have 105 firefighters, 36 leading firefighters and 30 drivers, but we need at least 360 firefighters in the department," he said.
Apart from the firefighters, the Noida Fire Department has 17 fire tenders, four fume tenders, five water bowsers, three high-pressure bowsers and three hydraulic platforms.