Education Watch: Schools have no fire extinguishers

December 19, 2014

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An outdated fire extinguisher hangs on a wall at Islamabad Model College for Boys, G-10.
An outdated fire extinguisher hangs on a wall at Islamabad Model College for Boys, G-10.

A majority of government-run educational institutions in the capital do not have fire extinguishing equipment. In the past schools were equipped with fire extinguishers but most of these have expired.

“I joined the Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB), G-10/4, in 2008 and since then I have been seeing the expired fire extinguishers here,” said a teacher of the college, who requested anonymity.

Last year, fire erupted in a computer laboratory at the Islamabad College for Girl, F-6/2, and completely destroyed the laboratory.

“After the incident, there was a plan to refill available fire extinguishing cylinders at all educational institutions, but nothing happened,” the teacher said.

“We have some outdated fire extinguishers which were recently put away in storage,” said a professor of IMCB, F-10.

Talking to Dawn, an IMCB, H-8, professor said: “Some elements and salts at the chemistry laboratory are highly flammable but no fire extinguishers or fire protection equipment is available at the college. This is endangering the lives of students working in these labs.”

Tahir Bhatti, a spokesman for Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), which oversees all schools and colleges of Islamabad, confirmed that fire safety had remained neglected for several years. “I agree, the cylinders which were placed in main educational institutions have gone outdated,” he said, adding that the FDE will look into the matter.

— Text by Kashif Abbasi

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2014