Fire is one of the serious threats faced by every individual and organization. In India about 19000 people per year lost their lives due to fire. The state of Tamilnadu has been witnessing loss of lives in the range of 100 – 250 every year due to fires in the recent years. Apart from human casualties, fires can cause property damage affecting the building, plant and machinery, furniture and fittings, electrical and electrical equipment etc. The loss of property to the tune of even Rs. 600 crores per year has been experienced recently by some of the insurance company in India. The other losses like loss of market, loss of good will, loss of data and damage to the reputation cannot be assessed quantitatively and hence pose severe threats to the survival of the organization. Interestingly many of the property losses are not covered by insurance due to lack of insurance awareness and cost factor involved in taking insurance in India. The total actual due to fires in the country could be of high magnitude.
Need For Fire Safety Audit
Going down the memory lane one might recall the fire in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu, where 94 children were killed which sparked off debates and arguments on the safety of schools in the country during 2004, Fire in marriage hall in Trichy, Tamilnadu during 2004 killed 500 people.The causes for these incidents are the lack of fire protection system and inadequate exit arrangements.
As an aftermath of fire incidents in occupancies like schools, marriage halls etc the state governments have requested the fire services officials to carry out fire audits. Considering the number of occupancies to be inspected and limitation in availability of fire service force some of the state governments have permitted external agencies to carry out fire (Safety) audits and submit reports to government for issuing no objection certificate. The fire audits for issuing no objection certificate needs to be based on National Building Code of India
The National Building Code of India lays down a set of minimum provisions to which the buildings should be designed to protect the safety of the public. The fire license is issued based on the adherence to National Building Code provisions with respect to fire safety.
Fire Safety Audit is an examination of the premises and relevant documents to ascertain how the premises are being managed in terms of fire safety. The inspector may also wish to talk to members of staff to confirm their level of fire safety awareness. Fire safety audit is to make sure the solutions provided are up to the standards. An audit is not an assessment of risk, but a compliance review of the safety provisions within the building or a factory.
Fire Safety audit will cover the following:-
- Fire safety management
- Emergency evacuation plan
- Employees fire safety awareness training
- Fire fighting equipments
- Fire safety signs and emergency lighting system
- Exits of the premises
- Smoke deduction system and manual call points
- Fire drillsFire drills
- Fire safety maintenance checklist
- Action in case of fire, do’s & don’ts
- Flammable storage facilities
- Sprinkler System
- Ventilation System
- Electrical wiring in the building
Fire Safety Management Policy includes checking certification, escape policy, fire protection equipment, emergency lighting, fire detection, alarm and sprinkler systems, previous audit record and compliance of recommendations. It also includes checking flammable substances, combustible materials and waste, interior furnishings, heating and electrical appliances, other sources of heat, lighting, smoking, deliberate or suspicious ignition, occupancy profile, persons at risk and escape.
Recommendations will be provided where it is necessary to improve your existing fire safety management procedures to ensure that you remain current and compliant with the new law and any appropriate legislation and your property and people are safe from damage by any unforeseen fire. The Fire fight training need of your employees is observed and accordingly recommendations were given. Also mock fire drill records are examined and valuable recommendations are given.
Our auditors prepare and submit audit report based on the actual observations and in line with the requirements of relevant national & international standards/codes.
Benefits of fire safety audits:
- An effective safety audit can be used by management to uncover safety and health problems before personal injuries, property damage, or business interruptions occur.
- A Safety Audit also serves as a visible process that management can execute to demonstrate to employees that they are interested in their safety. It is also a morale builder.
- A safety audit uncovers unsafe conditions and poor work practices, which are the principal causes of accidents. Thus, the safety audit process can reduce illnesses and injuries, and associated medical, insurance, and litigation costs.
In addition to improving the safety and health of employees, the audit process can also improve business operations. It can maintain, and in some instances, increase productivity, by reducing interruptions caused by accidents. It identifies conditions where machinery, equipment, or tools need repair or replacement, thus increasing the efficiency of the business operation. The bottom line is that an effective safety audit contributes to improved quality, productivity, performance, and profitability of a business.
The audits are used to check the current adequacy of fire safety components, services and equipment, report on the expected performance and make recommendations for compliance with fire safety legislation and the requirement of providing a safe workplace.
Periodic fire audits can not only prevent the losses of human lives and property but also bring down the cost of insurance to a greater extent. Fire Safety audits with quantitative Risk Assessment by using internationally accepted techniques will make the management of any organization to appreciate the need for fire safety measures and treat the recommendations with respect.