Mumbai, 25th May 2023: Despite the increasing number of fire accidents in high-rise buildings, the city is still looking for answers to fire safety and evacuation measures. Once again the city’s vertical development turned the spotlight on evacuation plans in high-rise buildings. Since the 1944 explosions, Mumbai has been a witness to some of the worst fire accidents. Whether it was the July 2014 fire of Lotus Business Park Andheri or the January 2023 fire at R A Residency Tower, the residents of Mumbai’s high-rise buildings have suffered from the loss of lives and assets.
The data states that Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) receives between 6000 and 7000 emergency calls in a year, of which nearly 90% were calls made for fire-related complaints. The manpower and equipment required to manage such rescue operations have become a challenge for the Fire Brigade Department. The main challenge for Firefighters to rescue people on time in high-rise buildings is carrying heavy-weight equipment. They have reported that only the first 50 meters of a ladder can be reached with ease. The usual 90-meter ladder can give access to the 30th floor, but as they go higher, the wind velocity makes it challenging. They do not have any option to ascend high-rises, the available Fire Chutes can only be used to come down and not to go up.
In a recent statement, Mr. Manjrekar, Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai, said, “The joint efforts of the citizens and the fire department can only make the city fire free. Looking at the fires in recent months in the city, specifically in the high rises need to have evacuation solutions in place. Accordingly, the ‘Fire evacuation lift’ concept was already implemented in 2018 after the approval of Honorable M.C.sir. This will help the self-evacuation of occupants as well as Firefighters in case of fire emergencies. An adequate evacuation solution and proper training can save millions of lives during fire accidents.”
Dr. Virkam Mehta, an Industry Expert, and MD of SPARTAN Fire Evacuation Lift said, “The fire evacuation lift is considered as a new PPE ‘public protection equipment’ that reaches on time to evacuate on time and thus saves lives and assets. These lifts are designed with well-advanced technologies like IoT. It helps firefighters to ascend high-rise buildings with heavy equipment to reach fire-affected floors faster and safer. It carries rapid evacuation of people of all ages and abilities. A dream city of many needs evacuation solutions for a safer and happy living, especially in high-rise buildings.”
The vertical evacuation solution ‘Fire Evacuation Lift’ for high-rise buildings was made mandatory by the Maharashtra Energy Department on 2oth July 2022 for buildings having heights of 70 meters or above.
Dr. Deepak Monga, Fire Safety and Evacuation Expert said, “Although we have a 90-meter ladder, firefighters can’t use this to reach 40th, 50th, or on higher floors because of the wind velocity and limited space. If we thought of using a staircase, then due to inhaling excessive carbon monoxide people die. The other available options, like fire chutes, are not practical for all ages or firefighters as they can’t use them to reach higher floors. Therefore, we need to understand the importance and need for a proper evacuation solution. The infra developers need to add the Fire Evacuation Lift in their plan to save people’s lives and assets. The Evacuation plan plays a pivotal role in fighting the fire.”