CAG declares Delhi fire service unprepared, short on staff

The draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) pertaining to performance audit of the Delhi Fire Services has exposed the lack of preparedness of the Capital in case of any major fire. CAG has found several loopholes in the functioning of Delhi Fire Service. The five-year audit of the premier fire service of the country has shown that in case of fire emergency, the fire service is not only ill equipped but also well short of staff. Interestingly, CAG in its report 2001, 2004 and 2010 had pointed out shortage of staff in DFS. In the current draft report, it has again pointed out 42.37 per cent overall shortage of staff. Also, except training for fresh sub-officers and fire operators, DFS did not conduct any refresher course, electrical, chemical or specialised training for existing staff.

Even the safety of high rise buildings in the Capital is a concern, which has clearly been reflected in the performance audit. The audit report says that as per rule 35, DFS should have the data of high rise buildings, which are required to obtain Fire Safety Certificates. However, it didn’t maintain such a database. The audit team even tested and checked fire systems in some buildings and at eight such sites it found shortcomings. The report further says that according to the National Building Code, 2005, there is a provision for a Helipad in buildings above 60 metres high, but DFS didn’t have any such data.