Major fires in recent months in high-rises in Kurla, Dadar, and Malad, among other places, prompted the government to make stricter regulations and a legal framework to punish violators. The main aim of the Maharashtra Energy Department, Municipal Corporations, and Fire Brigade Department is to increase awareness among civilians to ascertain their preparedness to fight fire emergencies.
In the last year alone, a record 2500 building approvals have been given by BMC to fulfill the rising demand. 12,000 high-rise projects are under construction, but the question is whether these high-rise constructions are fire-free or not. In 2022, Mumbai reported a total of 1996 fire calls, of which one was a level 4 call (major fire), one a level 3 call (medium fire), 12 level 2 calls (also medium fire), and 26 level 1 call (small fires). Looking at the current situation of high-rise constructions in Mumbai and other developing cities of Maharashtra, the government pays attention to fire safety and evacuation measures to prevent the loss of human lives. The Maharashtra Energy Department has made the advisory in July 2022 to install the Fire Evacuation Lift in New Buildings of having heights 70 meters or above for faster and safer evacuation during fire accidents.
Speaking on the advisory, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, "With the infrastructure development, the risk of fire safety and evacuation has increased over the years, but the fire brigade department has never failed to save the lives and property of civilians. The Maharashtra Energy Department’s new circular on installing Fire Evacuation Lifts in high-rise buildings is a visionary step. It will make the evacuation process easy and faster for firefighters. Now, we must follow all rules and regulations made by the Maharashtra Energy Department to ascertain the preparedness to fight fire emergencies. Little consciousness by the civilians and infra developers can make Maharashtra a fire-free state.”
Sanjay Manjrekar, Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai said, “The joint efforts of the citizens and the fire department can only make the city fire free. Throughout the year, we continuously try to sensitize the citizens regarding Fire safety through Mock drills, awareness programs, lectures, training, Demonstrations, etc. Looking at the fires in recent months in the city specifically in the high rises need to have evacuation solutions in place. Accordingly, the concept of the “Fire evacuation lift” was already implemented in 2018 after the approval of Honorable M.C.sir. This will help the self-evacuation of occupants as well as Firefighters in case of fire emergencies. An adequate evacuation solution and proper training can save millions of lives during fire accidents. Help us to help you!”
The industry expert Dr. Vikram Mehta, MD of SPARTAN Fire Evacuation Lift said, “It’s not possible to imagine the hardship of Firefighters. They are real superheroes who fought for the life of others. In recent years the rising numbers of high-rise constructions have made the job of firefighters riskier as they have to walk through stairs on higher floors with 25 to 30kg weight to douse the fire and evacuate people during fire emergencies. The fire evacuation lift is an effective solution for firefighters to reach high floors faster and for people to have a safer living in high-rise buildings. It’s time to save our saviors (Firemen).”
Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) receives between 6000 and 7000 emergency calls in a year, of which nearly 90% were calls made for fire-related complaints. In fire accidents, not only lives but people lose their assets. It has been registered that Property worth over Rs 90 crore was damaged in the fires in 12 years.
Samadhan Devare, Divisional Fire Officer Thane, said, “Every year we do training and awareness programs to educate people on the subject of fire safety and evacuation. Our efforts are to make sure every high-rise building in Thane is safe. The Fire Evacuation Lift for the high-rise buildings is a relief for the firefighters as it helps them in faster and safer evacuation. Firemen can reach higher floors faster and douse the fire on time before it turns into a blaze. The support of societies, builders, developers, and civilians will make the city safer.”