They got some fire tools, not training
Most garment factories in the port city have at least a few sets of fire fighting equipment but the workers do not know how to operate the extinguishers, officials of Fire Service and Civil Defence found yesterday.
The factories also do not have adequate water storage capacity and sufficient exits for emergency, said the officials who found the picture after visiting around 20 factories across the city.
Farid Ahmed Chowdhury, senior station officer of the government department in Chittagong, said his team visited five factories yesterday.
Firemen will visit 916 garment factories in Chittagong to check their fire safety measures as a part of an inspection of the country's garment units after a fire in Ashulia killed at least 110 workers last month.
After visiting the factories, the department will submit a report to its headquarters within 20 days.
After visiting New Tech Apparels Ltd in Dewanhat area, the team found the factory operators were working in a risky environment beside dangerous electric equipment of the factory.
Though some fire extinguis-hers were there, the workers do not know how to operate those. The exits were also too narrow.
But the owner of the factory, Nirmal Kanti Dev, said there are around 500 workers in the factory and the exits are enough for the workers.
â€œThough my workers are not trained up, we have 25 trained people to operate the fire extinguishers,â€ said Dev.
Assistant Director of Fire
Service and Civil Defence in Chittagong Abdul Mannan
said, only 25 trained people for 500 untrained workers is not enough.
â€œEveryone should be trained up,â€ Mannan said.
Another team, while visiting Delmas Garments Ltd in Mistripara, found the factory has only one exit and the workers do not know how use the fire safety tools.
The team also found the underground water storage in the factory is not sufficient, said Mannan.
The owner of the factory was not present during the inspection.
Mannan said the other teams of the department found the same picture in the factories during the first-day visit across the city.
Ruhul Amin, deputy direc-
tor of the department in Chittagong, said if any factory is found to lack fire safety standards, it will be given a month's deadline to take the measures.
If any factory does not take any measure within the deadline, the department will go for action through mobile courts, he said.
The department will also ask Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to compel the factory owners to comply with fire safety measures at their factories, Amin said.