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Mayor forms body to conduct fire safety audit of commercial buildings

Salis bin Perwaiz
Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab, taking notice of fire incidents in a number of buildings in the city in the recent months, including the deadly RJ Mall blaze that left have 11 people dead last week, has formed a three-member committee for inspections of buildings.

Officials said on Monday Wahab had decided to have fire safety audits of commercial buildings conducted. He also conducted a consultative meeting with officers in this regard. In the first phase, fire safety audits of buildings on Sharea Faisal, II Chundrigarh Road and Tariq Road will be carried out. It will be seen which of the buildings have a fire safety system.

It has been observed that many large commercial buildings do not have any emergency exit route, Wahab was told in the meeting. He directed that the KMC staff should inspect all major buildings in these areas.

He further directed that the administration should list the buildings that have emergency exit routes, as well those which do not. According to the law, large buildings must have a fire safety system and emergency exit routes, and action will be taken over buildings that do not have fire safety systems and emergency exit routes, he said.

The mayor said it is purely a matter of human lives, and the management/owners of the buildings should cooperate with the KMC staff.

The committee order issued by the Mayor Office reads, “In order to ensure safety measures in the city, inspection officer(s) are hereby nominated along with the terms of references (TORS) to assess all the fire and safety measures in the following major roads.”

Inspection officers

Ishtiaque Ahmed, chief fire officer of the Fire Brigade Department, KMC, will inspect buildings with his team on Sharea Faisal; Muhammad Humayon, team lead, USAR, Fire Brigade, KMC, will inspect buildings on II Chundrigarh, while Ghulam Fakhurddin, station officer, Landhi Fire Station, will inspect buildings on Sharea Quaideen and Tariq Road.

Terms of references

The nominated officers will co-opt members from the Fire Brigade Department to undertake the survey. They will assess fire safety measures, including escape routes and emergency exits, basic fire safety equipment, including smoke detectors, fire watch guards, fire extinguishers and fire hoses, besides electric wiring and general condition of electrical equipment, including metets, switches and plugs.

The officers will look into any other reason that may cause a fire or may aggravate any emergency situations. They also make recommendations to the building managements. “All the inspections officer(s) shall submit the final report within 15 working days, positively.”