Know the basics of Fire Safety
1. Know all fire risks @ home & put in place systems to eliminate the risks
2. Know how to use fire extinguishers, types & techniques to put out small fires
3. Every home can have an all-purpose extinguisher & first aid burns kit
4. Have a home emergency escape plan ready
5. Wherever you go – be aware of fire exits/ egress routes, and evacuation basics
6. Keep exits clear for enabling a smooth and safe egress from fire, smoke, fumes or panic during the time period necessary for escape.
7. In case of an uncontrolled fire, quickly move out to a safe place/emergency assembly area
8. Know the fire emergency numbers – 101 & your nearest fire station
9. If you discover fire – Break the glass of the nearest fire alarm button to alert all / Try to extinguish the fire with the nearest extinguisher or evacuate without panicking.
Familiarize yourself with all signage in apartments for fire extinguishers, fire exits, escape plans, assembly areas & fire safety instructions posted in lobby/prominent locations. This will be useful in case of a fire emergency
Please reach out to the Apartment Manager/ Fire RRT Team to understand, improve, engage & operate with – the apartment layout & operational fire fighting systems, demarcated fire assembly points, fire training drills, evacuation plans & emergency procedures
In event of a fire, do not panic
- Evacuate to the safe area and do not stay in closed rooms
- Use wet cloth/ Stay low below the smoke to escape
- Do not use the lifts in case of fire
- Know the Stop Drop Roll technique
- Follow apartment specific emergency procedures following familiar techniques
- Support evacuation of children, elderly & persons with special needs
Role of RWA Manager in Apartment Fire Safety
- Ensure all Association policies & compliance mandates (national building codes, municipal by-laws, fire safety act etc) on Fire Safety are implemented & maintained with due diligence
- Keep handy the Fire Fighting Services emergency number & AMC vendor numbers
- Ensure all cars/ other parked vehicles are removed for the quick passageway of the fire engine.
- Plan beforehand (from the time a call is made till the fire engines arrive) – from which entrance & the path the fire engine will take inside the complex to reach the affected area. (This is in the event the apartment has multiple access gates)
- Ensure the whole team works with internal constituted/ designated Fire response team to ensure speedy & effective coordination & rescue of fellow residents
- Ensure all staff & residents teams are familiar with Fire Safety Emergency Procedures
Responsibilities of Managing Committee / Association
Managing committees of RWA / AoAs are responsible for ensuring all compliances are met & implemented. Following things should be planned as part of association activities – both, as compliance mandate, as well as best practices to be followed for our own safety
1. Be aware of all building regulations on fire compliance & safety. (as per National Building Code, Municipal Byelaws, Fire Act etc & latest department notifications). Ensure compliances are met at the building handover stage, as well as post the same for maintenance & upgrades.
2. Ensure Fire System AMCs & Periodic schedule of Maintenance are in place
3. Ensure audits & checks are performed and fire systems are 100% working
4. Engage on Fire Inspection Mandate, ensure compliance & Take Action on fixing Gaps. Renew fire clearance certificates
5. Develop a fire safety evacuation & drill plan for systematic execution on a quarterly/ biennial basis
6. Ensure there is a plan for training – all association staff – on Fire safety, Evacuation procedures
7. Plan Resident training as part of annual activity
- Walkthrough of fire fighting systems,
- Basic fire safety training with dos & don’ts, usage of extinguishers, evacuation drills etc
- Maintain necessary self-help kits & equipment on standby for emergencies. (stretchers/ first aid kids/evacuation chairs etc.)
8. Endeavour to create Apartment level Fire Subcommittee/ Fire-Warden/ Rapid Response Teams. Involve as many volunteer residents.
9. Maintain connect with local fire service stations for services/awareness/information/training etc.
10. Create awareness on adherence to NBC guidelines on fire safety for buildings – keeping lobby areas free, ensuring alternate fire exits, preventing unwarranted elevation changes in the building etc.
11. Observe & create awareness – during Fire safety commemorative days/ Instructions on Festive Fires etc.
SAFETY IS EVERYBODY’S JOB – PRACTICE FIRE SAFETY. Do we always have to learn about safety and prevention from accidents only? Can we become proactive and work on a sound plan that minimizes the probability of or prevents accidents from happening at all? The recent fire in an apartment in Bengaluru has again brought the issue of apartment & resident/citizen fire safety to the forefront. While we become more aware of the issues surrounding the same, the learnings from this incidence must be fed back to ourselves so that such accidents can be prevented from recurring. In addition to the various levels of responsibility for apartments & residents to ensure fire safety, Beyond Carlton would like to highlight the 3 key aspects of being fire safe – Preparedness, Emergency Action & Post Emergency Support. Refer to the below annexure for the same. This we feel will play a major role in not only minimizing loss of life or property but also take it a step further to prevent the same.
Authored by Team – Beyond Carlton 2021-22