BMC to study agencies’ response to Bandra fire | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC to study agencies’ response to Bandra fire

In an ambitious plan that could change the way the city’s agencies respond to a disaster, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to study and analyse the response of each agency to a disaster.

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2011 01:14 IST
Kunal Purohit

In an ambitious plan that could change the way the city’s agencies respond to a disaster, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to study and analyse the response of each agency to a disaster.

This analysis will be jointly done with all agencies and feedback will then be given on the loopholes observed, and suggestions made on improvements.

The plan is modelled on the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) system, in place in western countries, where every agency has a specified, pre-decided response to disasters. SS Shine, joint municipal commissioner (disaster management), said, “A pilot study will be launched with the Garib Nagar fire incident. We have requested all agencies involved in the operation to share information about the role they played while mitigating the disaster.”

The fire that broke out on March 5, gutting 700 shanties and rendering 2,000 families homeless, had numerous agencies involved like the fire brigade, the Railways and the civil defence.

“Once this information comes in, we will jointly analyse the responses of the various agencies. After this analysis we will be able to tell what was done right and what wasn’t,” Shinde added.

This analysis of the operations would include finding out whether the agency performed to its fullest capacity, whether there were any loopholes in its performance and so on. “We will also look into whether any of the responses could have been done in a more efficient manner to ensure a swifter response,” Shinde said.

A senior civic official, who did not wish to be named, said such an exercise was needed to better the co-ordination between different agencies. “Currently, despite repeated attempts to do so, we haven’t been able to establish a common chain of command between different agencies during disasters.”

The key objective of such an exercise would be to document the operations, and its strengths and weaknesses.

“Till now, whenever we have handled disasters the lessons learnt were never documented.” Shinde said this strategy would be adopted for natural disasters. “But, if it is successful, it will automatically help improve our response to man-made disasters, like terrorist attacks.”