Each and every habitat either residential or commercial has to mandated exquisite “Fire Safety Regulations” 1X BM based on implementation of safety measures for people and property. Fire is a major catastrophic event for various occupancies all over the world. This blog will help you understand Fire Safety Regulations In India vs UK.
Fire Safety Regulation In India
Almost every day some fires are reported across the country. These fires not only resulted in the loss of many precious life and many serious injuries with heavy property loss.
In the last two decades there was a vigerous growth in the construction activities in India, especially high rise buildings and rapid modernisation of Indian Industry have made the synopsis more complicated.
Effectiveness of the fire safety regulations in India for combating the potential fire hazards.
Fire prevention and fire protection is a subject for state. The basic responsibility for fire prevention and fire protection lies primarily on State Governments. The rules for fire prevention and fire protection are laid in the form of State Regulations or Municipal By-Laws. Regular fire services in India was established about 215 years back. The service was first established in Bombay in 1803.
Presently fire prevention and firefighting services are organised by the concerned States and Union Territories. The fire brigades in India remain diverse in character and majority of them continue to remain ill- maintained and organised in different ways.
The National Building Code (NBC) It is the basic model code in India relating to building construction and Fire Safety Act. It means that the responsibility of maintaining the fire safety installations in an occupancy is the responsibility of the owner or occupier.
The Factories Act and State Factories Rules
Amongst the Factories Act and State Factories Rules the Section 38 of the Factories Act, 1948 is the most important. It emphasises, the obligations of the occupier, which incorporate to adopt all practicable measures to prevent the outbreak and spread of fire.
- To provide safe means of evacuation.
- To maintain proper firefighting equipment.
- To educate all the workers with the means of escape during fire and make them aware in actions to be taken in a fire incident.
- To explain detailed guidelines to prevent explosion hazards.
IS (Industrial Safety) and OISD (Oil Industry Safety Directorate) Codes and Standards
BIS (Bureau of Industrial Standards) has formulated more than 150 standards on fire safety in buildings and firefighting equipment Systems. Some of important ones are:
a) Fire detection and alarm systems
b) First aid and fire extinguishers
c) Internal hydrants and hose reels
d) Temporary structures such as tents and pendals
e) Fire protection-safety signs
f) External hydrant systems
g) Fixed automatic sprinkler fire extinguishing systems
i) Gaseous fire extinguishing systems
j) Water mist system / portable fire extinguisher
k) Long range foam monitors; fire detection and alarm system, etc.
l) Oil/Gas Processing Plants
m) Fire Protection Facilities for Petroleum Depots, Terminals, Pipeline installations & Lube oil installations.
SHORTCOMINGS IN THE PRESENT SYSTEM
According to the latest available data, India’s profound record on fire safety is revealed the death of nearly 18,000 people countrywide in fires in both professional complexes and residential buildings during a year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
This is due to following frailties.
- Lack of consolidated fire services
- Different Fire safety Rules & legislation in different states.
- Consolidated unified fire services provide all the necessary guidelines and instruction in firefighting.
- Inadequacy of modern equipment and knowledge of their application, authorization & standardization.
- Lack of proper organisational structure, training and career progression is there in most of the fire departments in India.
- Unavailability of apt and sufficient funding is a main obstacle in technological progression for firefighting.
- Training institutions are very few in number in India which provide real-time environmental understanding.
- Scarcity of infrastructural facilities – fire stations and accommodation of personnel etc.
- Regular analysis is mostly not done.
- Public awareness (DOs & DON’Ts), conduct of regular mock drills and evacuation drills are not conducted.
- Many commercial and residential buildings especially skyscrapers, have been found laying fire safety norms aside. Many occupiers or societies do not bother to install the fire prevention systems in their buildings.
- Fire Safety Audit is an effectual tool for assessing fire safety standards. There is no clear cut provisions in any of the fire safety legislations in India, regarding the scope, objectives, methodology and periodicity of a fire safety audit. It seems that the fire safety audit has become a mere ritual. However, the NBC 2016, recommends for periodical fire safety inspection by the key personnel of the occupants of the building to ensure fire safety standards.
Fire safety legislation in the UK
As there are nearly twenty thousand commercial fires in the UK each year, these are important duties that should be taken seriously.
All fire safety legislation in England and Wales is conjuncted under ‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This was designed to simplify the existing legal requirements at the time and recommends: All premises used for professional purposes are included under these regulations. Every organisation must have a designated ‘Responsible Person’ whose job is to makes sure certain duties and action is taken to prevent fires, injury or fatality in case of a fire incident occurs.
UK fire safety legislation simplified
- Fire Risk Assessment
All organisations must have a Fire Risk Assessment along with Fire Safety Log Book. That is one of the first things that a fire authority inspecting officer will ask to see if they inspect your premises.
Risk Assessment doesn’t have to be written down unless you have more than 4 employees, however it would be always recommended having it documented for easy reference.
Fire Risk Assessment must:
- Be reviewed regularly
- Be documented if there are 5 or more employees in the business or
- The premises require a licence or
- The fire brigade has issued an alterations notice saying you must do soThe fire risk assessment document must record main conclusions and any action to be taken.
A fire risk assessor can:
– Correctly identify the potential causes of fire in the business
– Identify the people at risk
– Assess the suitability of fire safety measures in place, like fire alarm systems and escape routes
– Assess the persistent management of fire safety in the business, such as fire drills and staff training
– Strategies a fire safety action plan if changes are needed
– Record all the relevant conclusions.
– Implement the action plan that is needed
– Keep the fire risk assessment updated on an ongoing basis.
- Fire Extinguishers
UK fire safety legislation states that appropriate fire-fighting equipment must be installed.
- Fire Safety Signs
Fire safety signs are often disregarded by business owners but in fact all businesses will need at least 2 signs (a Fire Action Notice, and an Extinguisher ID sign) and quite probably more, to be legally compliant.
- Fire Alarm Systems
Alarms are able to see and heard throughout the premises.
- Emergency Lighting
UK fire safety legislation emphasizes that emergency lighting is required in buildings / workplaces for the purpose of providing light as normal lighting fails during a fire. There are 3 main purposes of emergency lighting:
a) Escape Route lighting
b) Open Area Lighting / Panic reduce Lighting
c) High Risk Task Area lighting: provides light to shut down potentially dangerous processes in event of fire
- Fire Safety Training
All the inhabitants in the building or people working in the workplace premises must be trained with use of firefighting equipment, meanings of safety signs and safe evacuation processes. The UK government have produced a number of guidance documents to help businesses comply with regulations Fire safety law and guidance documents for business
· Tell businesses what they need to do to comply with fire safety law
· Help businesses carry out a fire risk assessment
· Help businesses identify the general fire precautions they need to have in place.
In every state of UK, the penalty for not having an appropriate Fire Risk Assessment and suitable fire safety precautions can be prosecution, with severe fines and, if extreme negligence is proven, prison term.
In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety, these are seldom applied. Lenience in following fire safety measures resulted in many major fires in various accidents and some of them even resulted in catastrophes.
Indian Legislation should make Fire Safety Audit mandatory for all over India and the audit work should be entrusted to expertise in every year in every occupancy. Above all, the success of fire prevention and fire protection mainly depend upon the active co-operation from all personnel in an occupancy and organisations. It is moral responsibility of every country to design exigent legislation for Fire Safety, either it is advanced country like UK or advancing like India.
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