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Parliament House, President/PM House, SC building lack satisfactory fire prevention mechanism

Prime Minister House, President House, Parliament House, Parliament Lodges and Supreme Court of Pakistan- the country’s most premier buildings in Capital still not adopted satisfactory fire prevention mechanism despite various advisory notices from the concerned department, documents available with Daily Times revealed the shocking news of highest negligence of the administrations of these buildings.

According to the Directorate of Emergency & Disaster Management (DEDM), Building Standards in Ordinance on Safety Regulations 2010 necessitate protective measures of fire prevention, life safety and fire protection operating in the country’s capital as per the ordinance of 2010- a copy of which available with this scribe.

” According to Islamabad Fire Prevention & Life Safety Regulation 2010 which extends to whole Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), all such precautionary measures are necessary which deal with the prevention, control & fighting of fire, to ensure the safety of life and property in case of fire. Building Standards include three clauses-fire prevention, life safety and fire protection. The authority has power to seal all those buildings violating the ordinance by not taking enough measures of fire prevention and safety of public life” the ordinance spot lighted.

Prime Minister House, the country’s premier building where head of the country is residing didn’t adopt the advisory notices of the Emergency directorate; the basic equipment mostly installed in mini private buildings but PM house hasn’t even the basic provisions.

The documents added that fire extinguishers installed in PM House are not enough nor satisfactorily meet the standards; those available are mostly old or non-functional. House reels, wet risers and sprinkler system in the buildings are still not available as the administration of the building didn’t respond to the advisory notices mostly a highest negligence violating the 2010 ordinance of fire prevention and life safety.

Automatic smoke detectors, fire detectors and signalling devices also not installed for fire fighting, information added.

Wooden partition in PM House, barricades in evacuations routes, no emergency exits or contact numbers add to the vulnerabilities of the building.

Documents also highlighted the President building has no proper mechanism for fire fighting and life safety.

Fire extinguishers, house reels, wet raisers and sprinkler system are mostly not according to the standard requirements of the 2010 ordinance of fire prevention, the data revealed.

Documents further mentioned that automatic fire fighting system, smoke detectors, fire detectors, emergency exits, emergency contact numbers, blocked evacuation routes, barricades in fire vehicles due to security constraints, installations on floor of the buildings for thunder lights and partially wooden partitions are the high risks for fire eruptions and high casualties in President house in case of emergency.

Documents available with Daily Times further highlighted the negligence of Parliament House and Parliament lodges’ administrations not taking serious the Emergency department advisory notices for life safety.

Parliament house and Parliament lodges didn’t adopt a well satisfactory mechanism for fire fighting and life safety even after 9 years of the 2010 ordinance.

Fire extinguishers, basic equipment for controlling fire as first response measure, are low in numbers in parliament house and parliament lodges. Aspirating Smoke Detector (ASD), house reels, wet raiser are not available in both buildings or some installed in buildings are not functional since long due to negligence of the administration.

The information further added that sprinkler system, automatic fire fighting system, HVAC for fire protection and fire alarms are mostly not installed in both buildings to counter any emergency in future.

“Light arresting management isn’t available, the evacuation routes are dumped due to various reason;, exit signs and emergency numbers aren’t mentioned in buildings, and the electric installations are unsatisfactory in both buildings, the documents added.

Experts in the concerned department believe that since both buildings consist of 90% wooden partitions and in the absence of full fire mechanism system, both buildings are in high risk of fire eruption which can cause severe emergency and high human casualties

The building of custodian of the Constitution, Supreme Court of Pakistan also lag behind in terms of effective fire mechanism.

The documents added that in Supreme Court of Pakistan building, the fire extinguishers are low in number according to the standards of the ordinance while those installed have mostly been non-functional since long.

“Automatic sprinkler system, Smoke and fire detectors, automatic fire controlling system, house reels, wet raisers, fire pumps, emergency lights in suspension of electric supply, are mostly not available in the building, the documents added.

Emergency evacuation routes and entrance points for fire vehicles in case of emergency are mostly blocked due to security barricades. Smoke ventilation system is mostly blocked as well as the fire alarms are old. Additionally in Supreme Court building, the exit signs, emergency contact numbers, alternate evacuation routes are not explicitly marked inside the building. The electric wiring system, gas supply, and partially wooden partition are additional risk for the building during emergency.

The documents further added that most of the ministries inside the capital and 90% buildings of Islamabad- both government and Private sector- are not safe due to improper equipment’s installations inside the buildings for life safety. According to the 2010 ordinance for fire prevention and life safety, the authorities have power to impose fine up to 0.5 million as well as sealing buildings in case of violation.

A high official of the Directorate of Emergency and Disaster Management (DEDM) told Daily Times wishing anonymity that the authorities of the department served notices to these buildings but imposing a fine or sealing the building isn’t possible due to the expected reaction. Also, it was a mini directorate not capable enough to take such a bold step. It was best to make masses as well as the departments aware of the issues and advocate for adopting the preventive measures as soon as possible. Various calls to the concerned PROs were made but no one responded on the issue.

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