Four months after they were acquired, the protective personal equipment, sophisticated gear required for fire rescue operations, are lying unused.
Fire Brigade personnel had complained of sub-standard equipment when they rescued guests from hotels during the November 2008 terror attacks. Two years later, in March, 2,023 sets of this gear costing Rs 25 crore arrived but have been lying unused in the godowns of fire stations.
The fire department claimed it did not have the space to store this equipment. At least four attachments, without which the gear cannot be used, are yet to arrive.
Chief Fire Officer Uday Tatkare said: "There are 15 to 16 attachments with the uniform, of which some are yet to come. Unless they come, we cannot start using it. We are in the process of getting new lockers made to store these new uniforms and equipment."
He added that the department will spend Rs 2 crore on the new lockers.
Earlier this month, more than 10 firemen had collapsed while plugging the chlorine gas leak at Sewri. They were not equipped with protective gear and were only given cloth masks.
"The civic body had mooted the proposal to acquire this equipment more than two years ago because the ones the firemen have are outdated and need to be replaced immediately. But now, when it has come, it cannot be used due to silly reasons like lack of storage space," a senior civic official said.
The new personal protective equipment set comprises a fire-resistant uniform, a fluorescent jacket with breathing apparatus, a helmet with embedded lights, a hood, harness belt, gloves, trousers and boots.
This gear will allow firemen fight a blaze for up to two hours without suffering burns. It will be able to resist temperatures of up to 1000°C and help maintain the body temperature.
A senior civic official added that the new uniforms have to be stored in a particular manner otherwise the attachments can be damaged.