KARACHI: Sindh Governor, Kamran Khan Tessori, has said that every owner of a residential and workplace building has to fulfill the civic responsibility of ensuring fire safety measures at the premises where people live or work.
The Sindh Governor gave the suggestion to this effect while addressing as the chief guest at the 12th Fire Security and Safety Convention-2022 organized jointly by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) and the Fire Protection Industry of Pakistan (FPIP). The Governor praised the NFEH and other concerned civil society organizations, which had been regularly holding programmes to raise mass awareness about the fire safety issues in urban areas.
“This fire safety convention has been organized for the past 12 years to make people aware of the issues related to fire safety. Such events definitely spread awareness but at the same time fire incidents continue to take place unabated endangering the lives and belongings of people showing that more has to be done to spread awareness for this vital cause,” he said.
He said that the adoption of fire safety measures at every building by its owner had become all the more important when the state was unable to fulfill its obligations regarding the protection of the lives and properties of people.
Tessori told the audience that he had recently met the concerned scrap dealers of Shershah market in Karachi who recently suffered massive losses due to a fire incident. “I asked them whether they had put in place any fire safety measures at their shops and their response was negative meaning that they opted for saving a few thousand rupees by not installing any fire protection equipment and as a result, they had to face losses of millions of rupees due to the fire tragedy,” he added.
He said that people should adopt fire safety measures irrespective of the high cost of such systems that often became unbearable due to high inflation. Speaking as the guest of honour at the convention, Sindh Local Government Minister, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, said that such events had an important role in making people aware of the steps they should adopt at their homes and offices to prevent the fire emergency.
He said that all commercial and industrial establishments should have fire protection systems in place to minimize human and material losses due to fire incidents. He said the Sindh government had adopted the necessary legislation for the compulsory adoption of fire safety measures. He said the recent launch of the Rescue 1122 service in Karachi would go a long way to protect lives during emergency situations and disasters.
Karachi’s Commissioner, Muhammad Iqbal Memon, said that people were generally not ready to install fire protection systems in their offices, markets, and factories showing the state of overall moral degeneration in the society. He said the city’s administration had been left with no option but to adopt punitive measures against the markets, shops, and industries that didn’t adopt fire safety measures despite several warnings.
He gave the example of a major fire incident in the basement of a high-rise residential building on Shaheed-e-Millat Road in Karachi in the recent past as the fire kept on ranging for three days because there was an illegal warehouse in the basement stuffed with cooking oil and other such highly inflammable material.
Mohsin Sheikhani, the patron of the Association of Builders and Developers Pakistan, said the representative unions of markets and multi-storied residential buildings in Karachi should include experts who could advise the adoption of necessary fire protection measures.
Muhammad Hussain Moosani, Vice-President of the SITE Association of Industry, said the industries in Karachi had the willingness to join hands with the Sindh government to make sure that all industrial buildings do have fire protection systems. FPIP President, Imran Taj, called for the implementation of the fire safety provisions contained in the building code of Pakistan while constructing high-rise residential and commercial buildings in the country.
NFEH President, Muhammad Naeem Qureshi, said that his non-governmental organization in collaboration with the relevant agencies would organize more such events to spread mass awareness about the issue of fire safety. Also on the occasion, the Sindh Governor and Nasir Hussain Shah gave awards and Shields to some 50 different organizations for showing excellence in the field of fire safety.
Ruqiya Naeem, Secretary General, National Forum for Environment and Health, Engr. Nadeem Ashraf, Project Head AFSSC and VP, National Forum for Environment and Health, Rashid Mehboob, EHS Manager, Quaid e Azam Thermal Power, Zulekha Soorma, HSE Lead Auditor, Naveed Anjum, International Advance Member NFPA (USA), Khalid Latif, HSE Trainer and Consultant, Saeed Jadoon, Fire Expert, Mobeen Ahmed, Ex Fire Chief, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Naeem Yusuf, Disaster Management Expert and others also addressed during the event.