In a bid to ensure safety of school goers, the State fire department has urged authorities of several schools to take necessary steps to make arrangements of fire fighting.
This comes after the incident in which the building of the primary section of the Dowhill Girls’ High School in Kurseong was gutted in fire.
It is learnt that the state fire and emergency services department officials have noticed that structures of several school buildings had come up at least 50 to 60 years ago. As a result there was no such provision that would allow undertaking rescue operations in case of any emergency. Citing an example, an officer of the fire department said that the major problem with most of such school buildings is that there is only one staircase. “In case of fire in a part of a school building, it becomes impossible to use which leads to a massacre. Hundreds of children studies in a school and there used to be at least 50 to 70 teachers,” the official said adding that they want to take any chance and steps will be taken on immediate basis. The fire in the Dowhill School took place at night. “Just imagine what would have happened if the fire had broke out during school time. The incident was an eye opener for us and we do not want to waste any time to ensure safety of students,” the official said.
It would not be possible another staircase in these buildings. Thus steps like installing fire detectors and sprinklers need to be done on immediate basis. There are water reservoirs and proper fire fighting arrangements in the newly built school buildings. But those are very less in number, the official said.
Most importantly, the school authorities have been urged to undertake repairing of the “age-old” electric wearing system and to make students aware that how to reach a safe place in case there is any emergency. The schools which have been urged to take steps include 55 schools in the hills.
Meanwhile, the State Fire minister Javed Khan said that it has been decided in Wednesday’s Cabinet to fill up the 946 vacant posts in the fire department.