January 27, 2016

Since the earthquake in 2009, major restoration work has been taking place at Trashigang Dzong in Eastern Bhutan. With growing concerns of the loss of important cultural heritage sites to fire, and especially with increased risks during restoration, the Bhutan Foundation in partnership with the Prince Claus Fund supported building fire mitigation systems at Trashigang Dzong. Establishing a reliable fire-alarm system is uncommon at almost all important heritage sites in Bhutan, and the Trashigang Dzong Fire Mitigation Project will serve as a model for an effective system of fire prevention, detection, and mitigation for the rest of the country. In partnership with the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Department of Culture, the first fire-alarm system at Trashigang Dzong was commissioned on November 30, 2015. Local site officers at Trashigang Dzong will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the fire system to ensure sustainability.

Through this support, the project was successful in creating awareness among various stakeholders on the importance of installing such fire detection systems for the protection and preservation of important buildings and heritage sites. Through the project, local professionals have also been able to develop their capacity and gain experience that will be useful in similar projects.