The circular once implemented will usher in a new era of secured emergency evacuations to deal with any fire situation and other concerns of the evacuees and the rescue teams, opines Avneesh Sood, Director, Eros Group.

What is your response to this move by the Maharashtra government?
I think this is an important move by the Maharashtra Govt, keeping in mind people’s safety, especially regarding fire evacuation in high-rise buildings. Fire safety has become the number one priority in our country due to rapid economic development and urbanization and hence a robust plan for firefighting is a crucial aspect of safety and development.

Also, in addition to adhering to standard norms set by the civic bodies, developers must select materials that are fire-resistant and add backup plans in case of a fire emergency. The circular once implemented will usher in a new era of secured emergency evacuations in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra to deal with any fire situation along with specific needs as they concern evacuees and rescue teams alike.

Eros Group: Prioritizing Safety

Should installation of ‘Fire Evacuation Lifts’ be made mandatory across all states?
Whether to make the ‘Fire Evacuation Lift’ mandatory in other states or not is a state government’s decision. However, as a responsible developer, we think it is a visionary step in providing a much safer and faster escape route for fire officers to reach the higher floors of high-rise buildings to save lives and property - plus it’s one of the safest modes of evacuating people stranded in emergency situations of fire in such tall buildings.

How will this impact the real estate industry?
Escalators and lifts are used as part of an evacuation strategy in buildings. One factor which must be considered is the building type and design, followed by various features including technical specification and protection of the escalator/lift against fire, characteristics of building occupants, fire safety management strategies available, and types of emergency scenario under consideration.
Avneesh Sood, Director, Eros Group
If you don’t have the reputation for installing good quality fire evacuation lifts, it can cut into your reputation. The image we project affects our bottom line and how much clients are willing to pay for our services. Some of the brands which most of the real estate developers are using nowadays are Spartan Firemen Evacuation Lifts, Spartan SFL 100 Firemen Evacuation Lifts, Schindler, Kone Elevators etc.

Avneesh Sood, Director, Eros Group

Since the fire evacuation lifts are protected, they provide a means to expedite a simultaneous or sequential evacuation of a building if required. In both experimental and real emergency situations the use of lifts has been shown to considerably increase total evacuation flow rates and reduce vertical evacuation movement. Also, fire evacuation lifts can act as a multipurpose approach to save the lives of people and valuable property in the case of an emergency.

What steps is the Eros Group taking to install fire evacuation lifts in its projects?
The development of fire evacuation lifts is a continuous process. The steps taken by the developer are quite complicated, though nowadays, it’s very easy to install these devices. Each step is being followed accurately so that only the best solution can be found for installing these evacuation lifts in different building types. The best part about installing fire evacuation lifts is that they’re easy to install. Fire evacuation elevators usually consist of an elevator car, safety doors and a ladder. There are some houses that only require the installation of one or two of these components.

Eros Group: Prioritizing Safety

After a fire emergency, the evacuation route can become flooded. The typical way to handle this is by placing emergency stairs in place. Stairs are one of the few installation methods that can be installed without having to deal with the structural integrity of the building itself. This makes them an ideal option for permanent installations, as well as for temporary facilities such as those outside of high-value assets such as hospitals.

What brand of lifts is the Eros Group installing?
A properly equipped fire evacuation lift will increase your staff’s confidence when having to evacuate a building. A majority of fire departments use the same brand of evacuation lifts.

When it comes to choosing the correct fire evacuation lift, there are many questions that you need to ask before you purchase. It’s not just about price, but also about convenience and reliability. The most important thing, though, is that your new fire evacuation lift meets the requirements of your insurance company as well as safety codes in your area.

How will this impact a real estate developer’s brand image?
Real estate developers are confronted daily with new challenges and transformations. In spite of this, it is important for them to maintain a positive brand image due to numerous business goals. This may seem contradictory, but developing a good corporate image requires appropriate communication accompanied by effective marketing activity. Needless to say, installing fire evacuation lifts in the attic cannot be limited only to real estate developers, but other organizations as well.

Also, businesses and enterprises have a responsibility to not only protect their customers and consumers, but also protect their brand. Although fire evacuation lifts should be installed as standard in new developments, it is inevitable that sometimes they can still malfunction, putting the lives of clients or customers at risk. The installation of fire escape ladders should be done after consulting with building inspectors and architects for the safety of people involved in any development project.