Fire safety in a housing society is especially of prime importance, and fire exits must be provided in all buildings and this is mandatory.
Housing Society Fire Escapes
A fire escape is an emergency exit usually located outside a building but always as a separate entity from the main building. As the name specifies, it provides an escape route in case a fire breaks out within the housing society building or any other emergency surfaces, when the main exit is cut out of access.
Fire escapes have many levels, and they have horizontal platforms on each level (floor) that are connected to each other through ladders or stairs. These escapes are made of steel to keep leaves or snow from settling on them. They are generally made from fire resistant materials and extend from windows at every level.
The access from the inside portion of the housing society building to the fire escape is usually through a fire exit, but in certain buildings, the only access might be through the windows.
Fire escape doors are normally fitted with fire alarms in a housing society in order to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access and in order to prevent people from using the route for other purposes.
Installing and Maintaining Fire Escapes
- If you find out that your housing society building does not have fire escapes, you can take up this issue during a resident meeting and ensure that the management committee gets them installed.
- Every floor must have fire escapes as an alternative to staircases and lifts as these can’t be used during the time of fire.
- The maintenance team should ensure that no objects are kept in front of the fire escape, in order to ensure that the exit route is not blocked.
- The exit routes must be cleaned and maintained regularly by the maintenance team so that there are no problems during an emergency. This should be done on a monthly basis.
- While installing the fire exits or escapes, care should be taken and quality infrastructure should be installed as this is a serious investment.
- The ladders can be of chain or web type. Railings should be provided along the ladders and the fire escapes in order to prevent any falls.
- The ladder from the first level of the fire escape to the ground floor can be fixed. A better idea would be to opt for a ladder that swings down along a flexible joint or slides down.
- Movable fire escape ladders are preferred in order to dissuade burglars from entering the buildings through such fire escapes.
With your personal safety and the safety of your family in mind, ensure that you bring up the concept of fire safety during resident meetings so that fire escapes are installed. While moving into a housing society, ensure that the buildings have proper fire safety measures in place.
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