All buildings across Gujarat will now have to mandatorily get the fire inspection done twice a year. In case of any lapse, the building in all likelihood will be sealed. Gujarat government has decided to overhaul the fire safety system amid rap from Gujarat High Court which has been questioning the authorities about the inaction over its earlier orders on fire safety.
The government has decided to authorise Fire Safety Officers (FSO) who will inspect the buildings for protocol compliance and prepare fire safety plans, said sources. In the initial phase, around 250 FSOs will be authorised in eight municipal corporations.
These government-registered fire safety auditors will charge fees from the owners or managers of the buildings. The FSOs will also inspect industries and factories especially those manufacturing chemicals, and fire cracker units. With increasing cases of violations of fire norms and NOC, the state has formulated ‘The Gujarat Fire Safety Prevention and Life Safety Measures Regulations 2021’ which has detailed guidelines for compliance.
As per the regulations, the initial NOC for a new building will be given by the concerned municipal corporation after a detailed report by the FSO. The renewal process will be completely online with the local fire department playing little role. The NOC will be renewed by Gujarat State Fire Prevention officers depending on the report submitted by the FSO.
The FSOs will play a significant role in the renewal process; they will conduct checks and prepare a fire safety plan. A building fire safety team will be constituted which will have a fire safety director, deputy fire safety director, fire wardens and their deputies, a building evacuation supervisor and fire party. The building occupants will be given training in basic fire safety, evacuation procedures and handling and maintenance of fire extinguishers. The fire auditors will then fill up the form for renewal which will be an online process and on the basis of their reports, the NOC would be granted, a senior official with the State Urban Development department said. This will also lessen the burden on an overwhelmed fire brigade department in municipal corporations which are facing severe staff crunch, he added. In Ahmedabad alone, nearly 40,000 NOCs are issued every year. The fire brigade staff carries out the inspection and then submits the report.