Bhopal: Govt Schools Ill-Equipped To Handle Fire Emergencies

Bhopal: Govt Schools Ill-Equipped To Handle Fire Emergencies

Many schools sans fire extinguisher, while a few have expired ones

Rishita TomarUpdated: Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 12:14 PM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Despite the mandated safety protocols outlined by the school education department, several schools are ill-equipped to handle emergencies, putting students at risk. According to the safety manual issued by the school education department, the schools are mandated to prioritise student safety and be equipped to respond promptly to emergencies, in line with national safety guidelines for schools issued in 2017.  

During an inspection by Free Press, it was found that only a few of the schools in the city had adequate fire safety measures in place. Government Higher Secondary School Vidhya Vihar in Professor Colony did not have a fire extinguisher installed, with the officials of the school suggesting that one might be present in the laboratory.  

Similarly, at Government Kasturba Girls School in TT Nagar, although a fire extinguisher was present, it was outdated and had not been refilled since its manufacturing year in 2014. Naveen Higher Secondary School in Arif Nagar did not have any fire extinguishers. When questioned, an official cited that they had two extinguishers, but they were currently undergoing refilling.

Moreover, the school faced additional challenges as it was built below ground level, leading to drainage issues and unpleasant odour due to water accumulation from nearby drains. Similar problems were reported at Government School in Sanjay Nagar, Nariyal Kheda, indicating a systemic issue with safety infrastructure in government schools across the city. In contrast, Hamidia Boys Higher Secondary School had two properly maintained fire extinguishers on its premises.  

When contacted, S Dhanaraju, director, Rajya Shiksha Kendra, said safety manual was indeed issued for schools by the state education department. “While some schools may currently lack basic safety measures, it is imperative for institutions with large capacities and multi-storey buildings to prioritise the installation of fire extinguishers for the safety of students and staff. Such measures are not only advisable but also mandatory according to established guidelines,” Dhanaraju added.

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