Representative imagePUNE: The Maharashtra State Cooperative Housing Federation plans to reach out to the housing societies in the state to ensure that they conduct fire audits through agencies appointed by the local authorities.
Nearly 99% of the state housing societies do not get their fire audits done.
Suhas Patwardhan, the vice-chairman of the State Housing Federation, told TOI that they would conduct special camps and workshops to make housing societies aware of the fire audits.
Directorate of Maharashtra Fire Services Director Prabhat Rahangdale told TOI while rules are in place, implementation is poor. “There are over 600 fire audit service agencies on our website. The societies have to get the fire audits done and submit the details to the respective fire officers or else face punitive action,” he said.
“People need to conduct fire audits of their buildings. It must be a regular affair. One must not wait for an accident to occur to conduct an audit. Fire audit helps to establish the lapses in a building’s functioning,” added Patwardhan.
There are over one lakh housing societies in the state. Of them, around 16,000 are in Pune. The federation aims to reach out to all of them.
Rahangdale said that while there are laws and norms, unless they are followed, there is no point. “It’s like the traffic signal. People violate it blatantly. As per our records, around 99 per cent of housing societies have not got the fire audits done. We do not have enough manpower to visit each and every housing society to check the fire equipment. Therefore, we appeal to people to get the fire audits done for their own safety,” the officer added.
He said that the fire brigade often faces difficulty in reaching a location in times of crisis because of the obstructive planning of the city.
“Illegal parking and also inflammables present in areas, such as in slums and open dwellings, are a major hassle,’’ he added.
Rahangdale said it is the responsibility of the owner and occupier to check the fire safety norms in their buildings and ensure that equipment such as fire alarms, hoses and fire extinguishers are up-to-date and functional. Building owners can be prosecuted for flouting rules.