Important govt buildings lack fire systems

Parliament House, Cabinet Block, Pak Secretariat buildings have no safety standards in place

Usama Iqbal October 21, 2022
A fireman stands by the fire engine spraying water on the mezzanine floor of the building where fire erupted in the warehouse of a departmental store housed in the basement. Photo: Jalal Qureshi/Express


A number of important government buildings including the Foreign Office, Radio Pakistan, Parliament House, Parliament Lodges, Cabinet Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Prime Minister's Office and others in the federal were vulnerable to fire damage as they lack certified fire safety systems in place under the Pakistan Building Code Fire Safety Rules, 2016.

The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has woken up to the fact only after the Centaurus Mall fire incident.

Sources said that the MCI’s emergency and disaster management directorate, which issues fire and safety certificates, has started checking the fire and safety systems in all these important buildings. According to the MCI notice, almost all government buildings lacked fire safety systems and emergency exit routes.

According to the MCI notice, these buildings have no fire alarms, fire suppression systems, smoke detectors, or fire fighting systems in place at all. Hundreds of government employees including secretaries in every ministry and division were susceptible to the danger of fire incidents.

The absence of the fire protection system was explicitly indicated in a notification that the MCI’s emergency and disaster management directorate had sent to these establishments in the red zone in 2021.

Regarding the installation of the fire safety system and related equipment, the MCI’s fire wing has sent umpteenth notices to secretaries of administrations for the installation of modern equipment including sufficient emergency evacuation measures, but these notices have fallen on a deaf ear.

Sources said that no maintenance of the existing fire equipment installed in buildings was carried out except for placing new stickers on fire extinguishers every year. An MCI official said that the authority has issued notices to several government buildings including the Supreme Court, the Parliament House, the Prime Minister’s House and various blocks of ministries.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2022.


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