Mumbaikars are worried about Safety: Vertically Growing Infrastructure lacks Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan , says Experts

Reports indicate that Mumbai’s skyline has been growing at a rapid pace, with tall buildings being constructed in areas such as Malad, Goregaon, Powai, Vikhroli, and Kanjurmarg. Although Central and South Mumbai continue to be high-rise hubs due to their prime locations and high land prices, the city has seen over 70 new high-rise buildings in the first half of 2023, with 60 of them being above 150 meters and 10 towers exceeding 200 meters in height. A report by CBRE South Asia shows that 77 percent of tall buildings in India are in Mumbai, which also commands premium prices.

However, with the expansion of the city’s infrastructure, there has also been an increase in fire incidents. In the first quarter of 2024, Mumbai has reported several high-rise fire incidents, including Anmol Pride Goregaon, Casa Aurelia Building Dombivali, Akashdeep Andheri, and Navroze Hill Society Bandra. The data shows that in 2023, 4,721 fire calls were reported in Mumbai, with 1,547 (32.7 percent) from residential buildings.

The Mumbai city’s infrastructure plays a vital role in the nation’s economy. However, along with this responsibility comes an even greater one for ensuring safety. The city needs a well-planned evacuation strategy and framework to save occupants’ lives. The Maharashtra government has already made it mandatory to install specialized fire evacuation lifts in high-rise buildings for faster and safer evacuation. These newly advanced and government-approved fire evacuation lifts provide swift and secure vertical evacuation, ensuring the lifeline of high-rise occupants. However, the state has been waiting for almost two years for the act to make it stricter. Revised lift guidelines are long overdue to include fire evacuation lift principles. Including fire evacuation lifts and their specifications will help builders, developers, architects, and societies choose the appropriate lift for their fire evacuation plan.

Dr. Deepak Monga, a fire safety and evacuation expert, believes that the city needs to take a more proactive approach to ensure safer infrastructure and living conditions. He emphasizes the importance of ongoing awareness, knowledge, and education about evacuation during fire emergencies, along with fire safety training. Considering the continuous fire incidents in high-rises, it is crucial to have the right evacuation plan and training in place.

According to Dr. Monga, the revolutionary fire evacuation lift can be a solution to save lives, save FSI, save costs, and save the saviors (firefighters) by evacuating occupants swiftly during emergencies.

India has about 250 tall buildings that are completed or under construction. Mumbai is followed by Hyderabad, where planners are keen to grow vertically, according to a report by real estate consultancy CBRE India.

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