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Dhaka Tribune

Fire Safety: Speakers call for proactive safety measures to mitigate risk in Dhaka

  • 'Shopping malls or shops cannot be rented out by showing car parking in the house design'
  •  Roundtable held to alert people and increase awareness among community members
  • Mayor announces plans for the construction of CETP on behalf of DNCC in Gulshan Lake



Update : 06 Apr 2024, 10:59 PM

Speakers at a roundtable discussion on Saturday said that the damage from many of the fires plaguing Dhaka city could have been minimized or prevented altogether with proper planning and awareness of safety measures.

Gulshan Society, in association with Dhaka North City Corporation and Rajuk, organized the roundtable discussion, considering the current alarming situation of tragic fire accidents in Dhaka. Titled "Fire Prevention and Safety: Safeguarding our Community," the high-profile session was held in a hotel in Gulshan.

The purpose of the roundtable was to alert people and increase awareness among community members. In attendance were DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam, the Director General of  Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), the Chief Town Planner and Chief Engineer of Rajuk, and other officials. All provided insights into preventing fire risks and increasing awareness.

The session was moderated by Akhter Matin Chawdhury.

According to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam, shopping malls or shops cannot be rented out by showing car parking in the house design. He stressed that ensuring fire safety in home security requires giving the utmost importance to electrical safety.

The mayor emphasized that in going for safety, fire safety, and electrical safety should be prioritized. He suggested starting a pilot program of building risk assessment with the assistance of third-party companies, beginning with Gulshan Society.

Gulshan Society, in association with Dhaka North City Corporation and Rajuk, organizes a roundtable discussion  in a hotel in Gulshan on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo: Ahadul Karim Ahad/Dhaka Tribune

Furthermore, the mayor announced plans for the construction of The Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) on behalf of Dhaka North City Corporation in Gulshan Lake.

Brigadier General Md Main Uddin, DG of Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD), assured that they are already conducting a pilot training project in 66,000 schools for fire safety awareness training. 

He also mentioned a Citizens’ Code at FSCD, which Gulshan Society can disseminate among its members. He earnestly requested RAJUK to allocate space in Gulshan for setting up a fire station to serve the neighborhoods of Gulshan and Baridhara.

Barrister Omar Sadat, President of Gulshan Society, noted that many devastating incidents could have been prevented or minimized with appropriate planning and awareness. 

He emphasized the need for all relevant authorities, builders, users, and the community to understand the potential fire risks and plan preventive measures for minimal damage and safe evacuation.

Syed Almas Kabir, Vice President of Gulshan Society, appealed to experts to come up with integrated and innovative solutions that can be feasibly and pragmatically implemented in the dense neighborhoods of Dhaka.

DNCC officials delivered a detailed presentation covering the major causes of fires, reasons for high fatalities, and urgent actions to be taken. They promised to assist building owners with “Walkthrough Assessment of Electrical and Fire Safety,” digitally archiving and analyzing the assessments for assigning a 'hazard-degree' to each property.

Md Ashraful Islam, Chief Town Planner of Rajuk, emphasized the importance of appropriate and conscious usage of fire safety measures alongside correct design and compliant construction.

Additional DIG of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Hasanat Zaman Mollah expressed his disappointment at the community being unaware of risks or danger hindering their operations as first responders and in clearing roads for FSCD's access and operations.

Architect and developer, Ar. Faiz Ullah, mentioned the need for small fire stations in closer proximity to neighborhoods in Dhaka and appealed for a small Fire Service Station on Gulshan Avenue to serve the significant commercial district and elite neighborhood of Gulshan.

Syed Farhad Hussain, Deputy Managing Director of Green Delta Insurance Company, suggested compulsory inspection of buildings by certified, non-corrupt, and reputable inspection agencies. He proposed that insurance companies only insure buildings upon receiving positive recommendations from these accountable agencies, citing compliant RMG factories as examples of the effectiveness of this approach.

Speakers noted that had every community organized similar dialogues to promote awareness among stakeholders and hold authorities accountable, the number of accidents would have significantly reduced.

Eminent discussants included the Mayor of DNCC, President and Vice President of Gulshan Society, Director General of Fire Service & Civil Defense, Chief Engineer and Chief Town Planner of RAJUK, as well as present and past Chief Engineers of DNCC, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, among others. Reputed senior architects, members of relevant associations (IEB, IAB, REHAB, etc.), and experts from academia and Fire Safety design consultants also contributed to the session.

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