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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

BMC orders fire safety review in all schools

Mumbai: BMC officials on Tuesday decided to hold a fire safety audit in all schools, starting with educational institutes run by it. 

    This move comes barely two days after a survey conducted in 300 city schools by the PTA United Forum showed gross violations of the fire safety rules and regulations. 
    "We collectively decided that fire audits have to be conducted in schools. Even though we will start with BMCrun schools first, eventually all schools will be covered," said Manisha Mhaiskar, the BMC's additional deputy commissioner. 
    Some BMC officials also added that a circular has already been sent to schools and they will have to comply with the fire safety norms. "Fire audits have to become a regular feature and schools have to take this seriously," said Suhas Joshi, chief fire officer. 
    A total of 300 schools (100 BMC, 100 aided and 100 unaided schools) were 
surveyed by the forum and were found violating the fire safety guidelines. According to the survey results, almost all schools had no emergency routes to leave the building, less than 10% of schools conducted regular fire drills. Moreover, only 8% aided and 5% unaided schools had a list of emergency telephone numbers displayed on the premises. It was also observed that close to 
50% teachers were unaware about school safety norms. 
    Taking objection for neglecting mandatory fire audits of schools in the state, MNS president Raj Thackeray also threatened to start a statewide protest against the erring administration. The party's student wing on Monday issued a news release, asking the school administration and educational institutes to conduct fire safety audits.

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