Vulnerability and user awareness level assessment of fire risks of high-rise buildings in Dhaka City: A study of Mohakhali commercial area
AuthorHuda, Dewan Nurul
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Dhaka City grew in a spontaneous and unplanned way. A huge population with weak services and facilities further increases its vulnerability. Government offices have very inadequate control over the growth trend. In recent times, a number of the highrise building is growing day by day covering commercial, residential, industrial, and even hospital buildings. Fire is the most occurring urban disaster and can cause huge loss of life and property in a very short time especially in high-rise buildings. Again Dhaka is also vulnerable to seismic risks. Immediately after an earthquake, fire will break out all over the city. Primary and secondary data were used in the study. Primary data were collected from individual building users and building authorities. The data were collected by questionnaire survey, key informant interview, and field observation. The finding of the study showed that most of the dwellers and owners do not have a basic awareness and fire management knowledge & practice. Respondents can identify few potential sources of fire, claimed that they know what to do in time of the fire, how to extinguish a fire, etc. But most of the respondents also said that they do not know how to operate a fire extinguisher, they didn’t participate in any fire drill ever or receive any fire or rescue training, etc. Mostly these buildings have mixed land use. They spent a very small amount on fire preparedness. None of the buildings has a fire safety plan; very few building has fire emergency exit signage. Almost no building authorities practice any fire or evacuation drills. No building has the required size of the water reservoir, the specified capacity of pumps, and firefighting pump house according to law. Most of the buildings have a fire riser system in their buildings, but not all risers were in good condition. Very few buildings have automatic detection systems but no building has a sprinkler system. All the buildings have some form of portable fire extinguisher but they were not enough. It is also common that building owners, developers, office, industry owners even common people do not want to abide by the laws, comply with the regulations. FSCD is mainly responsible for fire incident management services in Bangladesh. But several agencies are also involved in the overall process. RAJUK, City Corporation, DDM has important roles to play in fire hazard management. Again there is a huge lack of coordination between these departments. They have lacking in their technical, financial, HR and field-level monitoring capacities. An integrated initiative needs to be taken including planning, implementing, regulating, service giving line agencies.