The Mumbai fire brigade personnel get training only once in their career, when they join the force. The BMC also doesn’t have a modern standard operating procedure in case of fire; but follows the one formulated during the British era. The fire brigade manual has been rarely amended since it was formulated in 1888, said experts.
“We are given training for six months when newly recruited, after which we have never been trained about any advanced techniques,” said a fireman. Kavita Sangrulkar, president of Abhay Abhiyan Trust that works for the improvement of services in fire brigade, said: “The department functions without an updated SOP. I have written to many civic chiefs in the past, but nobody feels it is important.”
In 2008, a fireman, Abhay Mohite died on duty. His sister Kavita set up the Abhay Abhiyan Trust a year later. “There is no yoga or gym facilities for the firemen and their accommodations are given at far-off places, owing to which travelling takes up most of their time and energy,” she said.
Milind Deshmukh, director, Maharashtra Fire Services, said: “We send senior officers abroad for training who then train the others. We will look into these factors.”