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Expired 3 yrs ago, 15 fire extinguishers still hang at VMC complex

Story: UDAY | SAWANT | 10th August 2018, 06:09 Hrs



As many as 15 fire extinguishers hang in prominent places at the Valpoi Municipal Council (VMC) giving the impression that adequate fire safety measures are in place in the council’s administrative building.

But look closer and you will be surprised to find out that these fire extinguishers should have been inspected and serviced nearly three years ago, leaving many people to wonder if the VMC is really concerned about the safety of staff and visitors in the premises, especially since refilling charges are a meagre Rs 500 per fire extinguisher.

What’s more, the fire hydrant installed at the site is not in working condition, sources said.  

The State government had constructed the council building in Valpoi town to handle VMC administration and for commercial purposes.

The VMC complex has been put to use since the three years and as part of safety measures for the offices and shops in the complex, 15 fire extinguishers were installed at various prominent locations in the VMC complex.

However, a closer inspection of these fire extinguishers have revealed troubling details.

These fire extinguishers were due for inspection in September 2015, the same year that the VMC began operating from its new premises, and they have not been inspected and certified by the fire protection equipment company till now.

The VMC’s failure to have these fire extinguishers inspected and renewed by the agency which supplied the fire extinguishers is now being questioned by people, with many wondering if these fire extinguishers would be effective in case of a fire mishap.

“This complex is teeming with people given the VMC offices, shops, restaurant and other services in operation. Is any one concerned about the safety of people in this complex,” asked social activist Vishwesh Parab.

“This is sheer negligence by the VMC regarding fire safety in the same building,” he added.  

Sources also said the fire hydrant which was implemented at the VMC complex is not in working condition.   

When contacted, a fire and safety agency said fire extinguishers normally have to be inspected and certified every year.  

“The refilling charges can be around Rs 400-500 depending on the chemicals used in the fire extinguisher. A new fire extinguisher, such as the one installed at the VMC complex, is priced at about Rs 2,500,” said a representative of the agency.  

“The VMC should have their fire extinguishers inspected and activated at the specified intervals, for them to be effective and to ensure the safety of people in the complex,” the representative added. 

Valpoi Fire Services blame municipal council for lapses  

VALPOI: The Valpoi Fire Services has squarely blamed the Valpoi Municipal Council (VMC) for failing to inspect fire extinguishers in the VMC complex.

“Since the last three years, we have repeatedly sent letters to VMC authorities reminding them to replace fire extinguishers in the VMC complex,” said Valpoi Fire Station Officer Shripad Gawas.  

“It appears that the VMC is not bothered to respond to our concerns and has not made necessary arrangements to ensure the safety of people in the complex,” said Gawas.