Nearly two months after mid-day first reported that the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) had just one expired fire extinguisher to protect its 5,000 daily visitors from fire emergencies (RTO has just one fire extinguisher, August 19), the transport authority has finally taken cognisance of the very real risk, and put 21 functioning extinguishers in place on the premises last week.

Midday report
mid-day's report on August 19

When mid-day had visited the RTO in August, there was no emergency evacuation plan, nor were there any signs pointing towards the nearest exits, and the only extinguisher on the office premises had not been refilled since March 2013. This, after the RTO had already witnessed a fire incident in 2012 due to a short circuit, and a following fire safety audit by the Pune Municipal Corporation. In fact, Regional Transport Officer Jitendra Patil was not even aware of how many fire extinguishers the office had, or where they were kept.

Following mid-day’s report, however, he rolled out a tender request, and has had four fire extinguishers refilled, and 17 new extinguishers installed on the premises at a total cost of Rs 60,000.

“We carried out a survey in the RTO premises and rolled out a tender request in the last week of August, and installed 17 new fire extinguishers in the last week of September, besides refilling four old fire extinguishers,” said Patil.

“In order to ensure that the heaps of paper and all the wooden furniture in the office are safe, we have also got fire buckets filled with sand that will be placed at eight locations,” he said, adding further, “on an average nearly 5,000 people visit Pune RTO every day. Most of the time they are unaware about the nearest exit locations; therefore we will be putting up evacuation sign boards that will display the nearest exit points. Moreover, we will also install fire and smoke detectors which will bring things under control.”