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Is your High Rise Fire Safe?

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Living in a high rise has its perks like the bird’s eye view of the city, the amenities and the luxuries that suit your lifestyle. For most people today, living a life of comfort and convenience in the city almost invariably means living in a high-rise.

High-rise buildings are the new norm of residential living in all major cities and also in second-tier cities. In a country where urban space comes at a premium, vertical expansion is the answer. However, fire safety concerns about living in a high-rise are legitimate.

High-rise buildings are structurally prone to rapid spreading of fires due to the presence of elevator shafts, garbage chutes, stairwells, etc. Consequently, a lot of measures both of engineering and building procedures are now being practiced to minimise the chances of fire and the spreading of it.

Following an incident in recent years, the state government has been on its toes to check residential and commercial buildings across the state for fire safety measures.

In the old residential complex, it is necessary for the society to have regular fire drills and maintain the fire management systems as per the directives. While the new constructions have to follow the legal framework of safety requirement to get an NOC from the fire department followed by the OC (occupation certificate). Apart from this, the developers can add value by selecting fire resistant material for constructions such as fire-resistant doors, sprinkler systems in parking and common areas of the residential complex. Builders and architects plan for the fire safety procedures during the design / construction phase, with respect to fire and smoke detection systems and fire alarm system.

Some residential projects, like Vraj Tiara at Worli, has an array of fire safety systems with fully automated fire detection; automatic sprinkler system in lobby, common areas at each level, across the apartments and parking, along with water curtain system at every parking level ensuring the highest levels of fire safety. Additionally, use of fire rated main doors in the apartments; refuge areas and 22nd floor as Fire Check Floor to arrest the fire to spread; Two of 2-meter-wide staircases fire isolated pressure stairs and fire chute in case of emergency. For a home buyer, fire safety measures should be a priority before decision making since the safety measures taken for the house will decide the safety for the family that resides in it.

Some tips for home buyers before investing in the property are:

• Fire-resistant construction materials
• Fire refuge areas
• Fire escape chutes
• Heat sensors and smoke detectors
• Overhead water sprinklers and fire hydrants
• Wet riser water tanks

Fire safety measures are taken quite seriously by real estate developers. However, it is essential that home buyers scan the measures adopted by a high-rise since safety can never be compromised.

Although one can never be assured of fire hazards, but safety and precaution can be taken to ensure the crisis is averted.

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