In an effort to equip organisers and volunteers of Ganesh mandals to deal with accidents such as fires, stampedes, drowning or a terror attack, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) organised a disaster management workshop on Friday.
Around 250 people attended the workshop, in which health experts offered first-aid training, while the city’s bomb disposal squad conducted a mock drill at a municipal school in Worli. The Ganesh festival begins on September 19.
“Ganesh mandals are at risk of accidents owing to the large crowds that turn up and the many electrical connections at the mandals,” said Naresh Dahibawkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samnavay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body of Ganesh mandals in the city. “The training will enable organisers and volunteers to handle such cases effectively, and save lives before the fire brigade or ambulances arrive,” he said.
The civic body had introduced the disaster management program during last year’s festival.
Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of the BMC’s disaster management cell, said that that all mandals should have a disaster management team in place. “We appeal to all mandals to not focus only on decorations and preparations for the festival. They should also make efforts towards mitigating disaster and for post-disaster management,” said Narvekar. He added that a large number of cases during the festival are related to fire accidents.
Participants said they learned several life-saving techniques through practical sessions at the day-long workshop. “The session was extremely useful. I will share the details with volunteers at other mandals as well,” said Rajesh Rane, a volunteer at a Ganesh mandal in Dadar.
However, the dismal turnout of women volunteers was a cause of concern, with only five turning up for the training program. “During Ganpati visarjan, several women are also present and at risk of accidents, but it becomes difficult for men to give them first-aid,” said Dahibawkar.The second training workshop will be conducted at a municipal school in Andheri.