Better disaster mgmt: Power, gas firms to help fire dept’s ops in Mumbai

  • Laxman Singh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2015 23:01 IST

To tackle incidents such as fires and building collapses more effectively, the BMC is planning an integrated system, where the involvement of agencies such as electricity companies, gas suppliers, police and the MHADA will be made mandatory along with the fire department.

At present, during such emergencies, the first responder is the fire brigade, and along with rescuing people and controlling the disaster, they also have to disconnect power and gas supply.

The proposed system is expected to include a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the fire brigade, too, which is likely to be formulated in three months.

A senior official from the Mumbai Fire Brigade said, “Often, when dealing with a situation such as a building collapse or a fire, our personnel are not aware of the electricity and gas connections, and finding and disabling them wastes precious time.”

“If all the agencies can coordinate, firefighters can focus on rescue operation more efficiently,” he added.

Currently, other agencies are brought in only after the brigade call (for major fire, building collapses and landslides) is declared by the fire department.

The new SOP being prepared will change this and facilitate involvement of the agencies concerned at the initial stage itself.

After the fire in Kalbadevi in May, the BMC decided to take up a major revamp of the fire brigade, which was functioning without a proper SOP. For fire officials, including chief fire officer Sunil Nesarikar, had lost their lives in the incident.

After this setback, the civic body had appointed a committee to probe the incident. The seven-member committee suggested preparation of an SOP within three months. However, it has been delayed.

“It is a huge process and we are trying to include every contingency that may arise in the future. Because of this, it is taking time,” another official said.

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