In the past six months, the Mumbai fire brigade has trained 4,360 citizens in basic fire-fighting techniques.
The fire brigade had re-launched its citizen volunteer programme in May during which citizens are trained in basic fire-fighting techniques, evacuation measures and operating internal fire-fighting equipment to tackle disasters.
The training sessions are held every Sunday at the six fire command centres in Byculla, Marol, Wadala, Mankhurd, Borivli and Vikhroli. Citizens can call the fire brigade helpline number – 18001233473 – to register for the training programme.
Owing to manpower shortage and poor response time, the fire brigade had, in 2014, initiated the idea of training citizens in fire-fighting. It receives more than 18,000 disaster calls in a year, said fire officials.
The fire brigade aims to raise an army of 70,000 volunteers who can prevent damage to life and property before the fire brigade reaches the spot. It now plans to train around 500-600 of the 4,000-odd volunteers to be citizen-trainers. These trainers, with the help of a few officials, can hold sessions in housing societies. Officials expect the system to roll out in the next six months.
Yashwant Jadhav, deputy chief fire officer, said, “We want to train many citizens in fire-fighting techniques so that they can help us prevent damage to life and property. The training will also help us spread awareness on how citizens can prevent fire breakouts.”
Officials have confirmed that the fire brigade’s response time to emergency situations is not up to the international standards. International norms set the response time to emergency situations at four minutes maximum. However, in Mumbai, the time taken to reach the destination is 8 to 10 minutes in the island city and 15 to 18 minutes in the suburbs.
How you can volunteer
•Dial 18001233473 to register as volunteers
•You can dial on the same helpline number for any queries related to fire safety
•The helpline is available in English, Hindi and Marathi
•The training programme is conducted every Sunday at the fire command centres in Byculla, Mankhurd, Vikhroli, Wadala, Borivli and Marol
•You will be given a certificate on completion of the day-long training programme
18,000 Calls the fire brigade receives in a year
33 Fire stations across the city
Flouting the norms
Most buildings in the city flout fire safety norms
According to a response to an RTI query, in the last six years, the Mumbai fire brigade had sent notices to 4,592 buildings in the city for flouting fire safety norms, but initiated prosecution against only 14 of them
Fires caused by short-circuits
At least 90% of fire incidents in the city are caused by short-circuit, said fire officials