Smart cities would require smart buildings for fire safety

With most modern cities opting for vertical solution for housing and corporate space, the next challenge faced by firefighters is to match the growth. With a plan of 100 smart cities rolled out by the government, fire safety mechanism has to be embedded seamlessly in the planning – this was the crux of the discussion by the experts and stakeholders who met in Ahmedabad for a Fire and Safety Association of India (FSAI) event.

“With the passage of time, we see more and more steel and glass buildings that many a times prove inefficient for venting smoke that is the primary reason for death (asphyxiation) due to fire. The swanky buildings might not have matching ventilation system or water management system that could be used by fire brigades at the time of fire emergency. National Building Code of 2005 needs to be revised depending on current development,” said Nimit Sheth, president of FSAI’s Gujarat chapter.

He said that they have brought in various stakeholders such as architects, builders, construction firms, fire safety advisors, etc on one platform to initiate discussion on the issue. “We are also initiating research in the field in terms of building material, design and new technology by collaborating with leading universities. In Gujarat, we have collaborated with IIT Gandhinagar, Nirma University and LD College of Engineering so far,” said Sheth.

MF Dastoor, Chief Fire Officer of Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) and one of the speakers at the event, said that smart cities would require smart buildings. “The first requirement is strict adherence to prevailing laws and its monitoring. We have found non-maintenance of the fire safety systems and quality control to be the major issues at the moment. The initiative has to start with building design with proper vertical spacing and stairwells keeping an eye on emergency situation and use of material that is resistant to fire,” he said.

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