Thousands of people visit the RTO daily, which is alarmingly underprepared to tackle a fire emergency; it has no signboards with evacuation directions and the lone fire extinguisher on the premises is well past its refilling date
While the Pune Regional Transport Office is making consistent efforts to bring safety to the city streets, it seems safety doesn’t come first at the RTO office itself. Heaps of paper and all the wooden furniture there form a considerable fire risk, but with just one fire extinguisher past its refilling date, the RTO has close to no measures in place for an emergency.
The sole fire extinguisher in the building was due for refilling in March 2013
It is worth noting that a fire incident due to a short circuit had been reported at the RTO in 2012. The fire was brought under control in a few minutes, and the PMC conducted a fire safety audit. However, no fire-fighting equipment was installed on the premises.
Be warned: The RTO is alarmingly under-prepared for a fire emergency, with no evacuation signs or plan, and just one fire extinguisher. File pic
The RTO is currently undergoing a facelift, involving renovation work and repainting at the building, as well as levelling the parking area. However, the fire safety measures remain negligible. While the office’s smart new appearance may appeal to the nearly 5,000 people who visit the RTO every day, they will no doubt be less than impressed to learn that the officers are not even aware of any emergency plan or fire-fighting measures.
Pune Regional Transport Officer Jitendra Patil told mid-day, “I am not aware about the number of fire extinguishers present at RTO office and where they have been placed. However we will be rolling out a tender request for new fire extinguishers soon.”
Patil authorised an assistant regional transport officer (ARTO), to help mid-day find how many fire extinguishers the RTO had and how many more were to be ordered. After 15 minutes of a chaotic hunt for the paperwork, the ARTO was unable to help. A quick search of the premises revealed that there were no signboards with evacuation directions and there was just one fire extinguisher installed outside the RTO officer’s cabin in March 2011.
The sticker on the cylinder further revealed that it has been due for refilling since March 2013. Despite the RTO obviously falling short of fire safety norms, Patil seemed unconcerned. “Even if we do not have the fire extinguishers, we have the fire brigade office 500 metres from here, so nothing is going to happen. We will get things in place in the next couple of months, and identify where we have to install fire extinguishers,” he said.
Number of people who visit the Pune RTO daily
The year in which the fire extinguisher was due for refill