In-house fire safety and management of a building is utmost important rather than a state management, speakers at a webinar said yesterday. Proper planning is required including emergency routes and exits, fire detection and warning systems, and the appropriate firefighting equipment for internal fire safety.
At the online event organised by Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) on fire risk and safety in urban areas, speakers also demanded proper implementation of construction rules and regulations.
BIP president Prof Akter Mahmud chaired the webinar.
In the key-note paper, BIP Secretary-General Adil Mohammad Khan said about main reasons behind the recent fire incidents like Narayanganj, Churihatta and Banani FR Tower.
He identified a lack of natural reservoirs and ponds, faulty building structures, inadequate or narrow entrances, illegal chemical factories and warehouses in residential areas, corruption in illegal housing construction and utility services, inadequate fire service stations and skilled manpower for such incidents.
Adil Mohammad said the authorities should increase the reservoir and widened roads, moreover, every school and hospital needs arrangement of open verandas to reduce loss.
"Housing companies maintain the rules and regulations to prepare a building as they need various types of permissions and have to sell the flats. But, sometimes we see, after handing over the property, the management authority did not maintain it properly. For example, fire extinguishers need to be replaced after a period of time, they don't do that," said Ariful Islam, vice president of BIP.
"We have laws but we can't implement this properly. According to the law, every building needs an occupancy certificate every five years. It is possible to check all facilities in a building by this time, but Rajuk failed to fulfil its responsibility," said Sirajul Islam, chief town planner of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
Hishamuddin Chisty, planner of DAP for Dhaka, said, "Firefighting must be held in three steps -- the first step is to monitor the building's own firefighting capacity; then we need the community-fighting and we need trained-volunteers for this step; and the last step recurred fire service authority."
When a building plan is approval by authorities there should be a system to check all utility connection plan like electricity, gas and water, and even car parking space, said Sheikh Md. Ejaj, a planner of Victoria State of Australia.
"Most of the mosques in our country are unplanned. It should be publicised that it does not cost any money to get permission for establishments fo religious practices. Religious and service organisation's buildings should have a safety audit every year," said Moinul Islam, town planner of Naryanganj City Corporation.