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Delhi Fire Service acts to prevent any Surat-type tragedy

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IANS New Delhi
In wake of the Surat tragedy, the Delhi Fire Service has begun to inspect the hundreds of coaching centres flourishing on high-rise buildings in narrow lanes of the national capital and will take action against those which are fire hazards, or are flouting safety norms.
The Delhi Fire Services has identified four major hubs for coaching centres and set up four teams to inspect them.
Delhi's Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg told IANS: "We have found that are about 4,000-5,000 coaching centres in the national capital. The department has decided to divide work among four teams who will be inspecting coaching centres in Laxmi Nagar, Karol Bagh, Mukherjee Nagar and Kalu Sarai which are believed to be the biggest hubs for coaching."
In Laxmi Nagar area in east Delhi, the team has started the inspection and many coaching centres have been identified as hazardous.
"We inspected some centres last (Monday) night and today (Tuesday) also we have visited many centres. Most of them lacked provisions to tackle a massive fire like Surat. Some did not even have fire extinguishers," a senior official of the Delhi Fire Services said.
In another lesson from the Surat tragedy, the Delhi Fire Service has also instructed its personnel who are informed of the fires to to talk calmly with the caller and get as many details as possible. They have been instructed to try and procure details of the floor on which the fire has broken out and also about the surroundings of the building.
"The people receiving calls have been instructed to be polite to the caller, talk calmly and get as such information as possible. We want to make sure that our teams reach the spot very well prepared," Garg said, adding that this came after he was told by his Surat counterpart that a major issue that delayed the rescue mission was the wrong information conveyed to them on the first call for help.
"I spoke to the fire chief in Surat on the day after the incident. The biggest problem was that the they (Surat fire) department were told that the fire broke out in the ground floor of the building and so a small fire tender was rushed to the spot. But then they realised that the fire was on fourth floor... the small fire tender could not help in the case," he added.
The department is also acting to enforce the Delhi government notification for shutting down the cafes and restraunts which have their kitchens on either the roof or in the basement.
The fire service has also stopped providing NOCs (no-objection certificates) to the guest houses on or over the fourth floor.
At least 22 students lost their lives in Surat on Friday after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of a commercial building which was being used as coaching centre.
(Rohan Agarwal can be contacted at rohan.a@ians.in)
--IANS
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First Published: May 28 2019 | 9:32 PM IST

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