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Maharashtra Mandates Refuge Areas in High-Rises for Fire Safety, Pledges Comprehensive Safety Measures

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In a significant move aimed at bolstering fire safety measures, Maharashtra has mandated the inclusion of refuge areas on every second or third floor of high-rise buildings. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unveiled this directive, aligning with the new building code, to enhance occupant safety during fire incidents, particularly in densely populated cities like Mumbai, Pune, and Thane.

Fadnavis emphasized the criticality of these safety guidelines, underlining that refuge areas must not be repurposed for other facilities such as offices or clubs. Regular biennial inspections of high-rises will be conducted to ensure compliance with these fire safety measures, reinforcing the state’s commitment to safeguarding its residents.

Responding to concerns raised in the legislative council, Fadnavis acknowledged the necessity for a comprehensive review of burn wards in hospitals across major cities. In response to queries from BJP member Uma Khapre, he pledged to augment bed capacity if required to bolster emergency response capabilities, particularly in the aftermath of the tragic fire incident at the Talawade factory in Pimpri-Chinchwad, claiming 11 lives.

Addressing the concerns regarding the factory’s location within a red zone established in 2008 due to its proximity to the Indian Army’s southern command, Fadnavis expressed intent to engage with the defence minister. He vowed to petition for a reduction in the extensive red zone, acknowledging public apprehensions and signaling proactive steps toward addressing these safety concerns.

The state’s proactive stance toward fire safety regulations and the commitment to a comprehensive safety review reflects a concerted effort to prioritize public safety and mitigate potential risks in high-rise structures and critical industrial areas.

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