Kochi: The Fire and Rescue Department has begun a safety audit of the fire safety status of shopping malls and cinema screens in the city amidst the concern over the safety standards in high-rise buildings in the city. A five-member team headed by Assistant Divisional Fire officer V. Siddakumar inspected three shopping malls at Edapply, Vytiila and Maradu including the multiplexes operating in these buildings.
“The inspection is expected to be completed in three days and the audit report including the findings and recommendations will be submitted to the district collector next week for further action’’, said R.Prasad, Divisional Fire Officer, Ernakulam.
The focus of the inspection included whether the buildings have adequate exit routes and exit signages, the alternative evacuation plans in case of a power failure, efficacy of fire safety equipments and the house-keeping department.
According to the rough estimates the six shopping malls in Kochi have been operating on a combined retail floor area of over 35 lakh square feet and close to 100,000 of visitors enter these buildings on a daily basis.
The fire department has been undertaking the audit in the wake of the fire incident at Oberon Mall few days ago. The attempt by the Fire department to conduct safety audit of cinema screens in the city had to be dropped midway owing to pressure from vested interests.
The district disaster management authority (DDMA) meeting scheduled to be held on Monday is expected to take stock of the fire safety situation in the city. Apart from shopping malls, the meeting will is likely to review the situation in places such as Broadway and Jew Street in Mattanchery.
The city police is also planning to have security audit in the high rise buildings and malls in the wake of the fire incident in a shopping malls in the city, city police commissioner MP Dinesh said on Thursday. The audit will be undertaken with support from other departments, he added.
The city corporation has also launched a drive to inspect fire safety measures in high rises in the city, including shopping malls, and take stringent action against those violating the regulations.