Festivals and new year are just around the corner. With festivals comes parties and crowded pubs and restaurants. While it is fun to dine under the stars, rooftop pubs and bars pose a major threat to the safety of the people and infrastructure. In the gruesome Kamala Mills incident in Mumbai, in December 2017, a fire started in a rooftop pub claimed 14 lives because of the negligence of the pub owners. This is not the first case where rooftop clubs and bars have caused an accident leading to loss of life. Let us understand the root cause of the issue.
Why Pubs And Rooftop Cafes Pose A Major Threat In India?
There are many rooftop bars and pubs in India and the craze of dining under the open sky has soared in recent times. While there is nothing with hosting a party at a rooftop café, the problem arises when adequate safety measures are not adopted by the pub owners. Most of these cafes have been built on the terrace of high-rise buildings and with the high rise building the risk related to fire hazard increases. In the case of a fire outbreak, it is difficult to evacuate people speedily to avoid any casualty in high rise buildings.
After Kamala Mills incident, state’s department of fire and emergency services found out that most of the rooftop bars in the city are running without any NOC certificate from the concerned authorities and have little to no means to mitigate fire-related accidents. Therefore, the root cause of the problem is not the cafes, but the poor management and auditing. Not only fire-related accidents, but the rooftop cafes are also prone to situations where the building can collapse because of the extra pressure on wiring, structure, plumbing, and flooring.
It is sad to note that in spite of experiencing gruesome incidents like #CrystalTowers & #Kamalamills we have not learnt our lessons to ensure #Firesafety laws are not flouted #FirekillsPreventit @MumbaiMirror @bmcmumbai @citizenmatters @KarFireDept #Firehttps://t.co/n4BEtaSsGD
— Beyond Carlton (@beyondcarlton) November 14, 2018
What Can We Do About It?
To prevent the threat posed by rooftop cafes and pubs, the authorities must make it mandatory for the pub owners to obtain a structural safety certificate. The certificate would ensure that the building has appropriate measures to handle emergency situations. The buildings that are 50 or more years old should not be allowed to install heavy machinery such as generators, air coolers on the rooftop to prevent the caving in of the building.
All the rooftop cafes operating in the country must be audited to check the preventative measures adopted by them. Emergency fire exits must be mandatory in high rise buildings where cafes are operating. Firefighting equipment must be installed in the vicinity and the staff must be aware of the basic firefighting techniques to minimize the risk posed by fire accidents. In addition to this, a separate legal entity must ensure that all the rules laid by the government are followed by the café owners properly.
We believe that if the rules are followed properly and appropriate security measures are adopted, rooftop cafes and bars can become the safest and entertaining places for hosting the parties. It is the responsibility of not only legal authorities but café owners as well.
Image Source: Hindustan Times