Kochi: There is lack of awareness and preparedness amongst residents, owners and associations of apartments in Kerala in facing and responding to fire-related disasters. This is the finding of a study conducted by the Disaster Preparedness Committee of All-India Professionals Congress (Kochi Chapter).
A report on the ground situation was prepared after the disaster preparedness committee headed by former additional chief secretary M.P. Joseph visited and surveyed around 50 high-rise apartments in Kochi and collected details from residents and office-bearers through a questionnaire.
According to Mr P.V. Anukumar, secretary of the committee, a large numbers of apartment complexes are not equipped to face or respond to minor or major disasters. "Through a questionnaire, we collected the information from them in terms of fire safety preparedness. Even simple no-cost or low-cost steps towards preparedness are not being taken by them," he said. "We have given over 40 recommendations which can be implemented at minimal or no cost. We are not focused on the problems, but on the solutions," he said.
The main fault found in most of the apartments is the obstructions in fire exits. The fire exits are blocked by dumping cartons and other stuff. Some lack the assembly points which are safer for accommodating people at the time of a disaster, the findings said.
The report will be submitted to the government and officials concerned, including the district disaster management authority. "We are also willing to coordinate with them to create proper awareness among the people against the disasters, especially the continuous fire incidents," Mr. Anukumar said.
The report has been sent to seven chapters of the AIPC in the state and over 50 chapters across the country. Similar surveys will be taken up in the respective jurisdictions.
The report was released by Mr Shashi Tharoor MP by handing over the first copy to Mr Sachin Pilot, Deputy CM of Rajasthan, during the state conclave of AIPC Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.