Despite campaigns, fire emergencies on Diwali breach 10-yr high

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 12, 2015 18:43 IST
A man tries to protect himself from firecrackers while celebrating the Diwali in New Delhi on November 11, 2015. The fire department said it received 290 calls related to minor fire incidents on Diwali in the national capital. (REUTERS)

Fire emergencies in Delhi breached a 10-year high this Diwali as more than 400 calls were made to the Delhi Fire Services even as the festival witnessed incessant bursting of firecrackers notwithstanding appeals by authorities.

According to senior fire officials, 290 fire-related calls were received till midnight, of which 46 came before 2pm, while 65 followed over the next six hours.

Around 128 such calls were received in the next few hours till dawn, authorities said.

After 8pm, the fire control room was bombarded with calls and 55 of them were received in the next two hours. The worst span was between 10pm and 12 midnight as 124 fire incident-related calls were received.

“This Diwali, we witnessed a record number of incidents for the past 10 years, despite there being so many awareness campaigns for promoting safety during the festival, which in itself is very shocking,” said AK Sharma, director of Delhi Fire Services.

He said the fire department had effectively anticipated the situation and planned strategies accordingly.

A fire official said that from 12 midnight till 8am on Thursday, the department received as many as 128 calls.

“Usually, the span between 6pm and 9pm is considered crucial as past record shows that the highest number of calls come during this period. But the trend changed this year, with 151 calls received post 9pm till midnight,” he added.

The fire services chief said that the strategies involved locating vulnerable spots and deploying adequate fire tenders, ensuring full attendance by cancelling all leaves and equipping the control room to deal with emergencies despite severe staff crunch in the department.

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