• In the recent weeks, there have been fire incident in hospitals at various locations in India. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019.
• While electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires. State governments are also lax with building safety laws, inspections and equipping public buildings with modern technology.
Mechanisms to deal with fire safety:
• Fire service is a state subject and has been included as a municipal function in the XII schedule of the Constitution under Article 243-W.
• Part 4 of National Building Code (NBC) of India deals with specifications and guidelines for design and materials that reduce the threat of destructive fires.
• National Disaster Management Authority has stipulated requirements for fire safety in public buildings, including hospitals.
• Last year, Supreme Court directed all States to carry out fire safety audits of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.
• States and UTs have been directed to update their respective local building Bye-laws and to align with Model Bill on Maintenance of Fire & Emergency Services 2019.
Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Fire safety regulations
Mains level: Highlights the mechanisms to deal with fire safety