Around 1,100-odd firefighters will spend Diwali working to ensure that the festival is safe for people of the city.
The Delhi Fire Services expects at least 200 calls for help on Sunday. The department’s strength has been upped by 20 per cent and its workforce is expected to be on its toes to reach out to people in distress over 24 hours.
The department has cancelled leaves of some of its personnel to tide over manpower crunch during the festival of lights, sources said. The firefighters will be posted at strategic points across the city to respond to reports of fires as soon as possible.
“We have put up temporary fire stations across the city. Fire engines have been stationed at strategic locations for this weekend. On any given day, we have 800 firefighters on the field. The number has been enhanced to 1,100,” said AK Sharma, director of Delhi Fire Services.
Twelve fire stations have been set up especially for the weekend in addition to the 56 in the city, Sharma added. The department has also increased the number of vehicles that will only carry water from 100 to 150 vehicles.
“Normal fire extinguishers have been increased too. A total of 175 vehicles will be put on alert,” he added.
The fire department will be deploying its staff by Saturday when Choti Diwali is celebrated.
“Leaves of some officials have been cancelled as we need our force to be deployed at various locations. We will be stationing fire engines in 12 most crowded places in the city, some of which include the Walled City, Rajinder Nagar, Sarojini Nagar and Connaught Place and other crowded places. We have tried our best to be prepared for Diwali and we will be able to tackle all kinds of emergencies,” said Sharma.
To ensure easy navigation, some fire department officials on 10 motorcycles will scour the city. “Police vehicles will keep a check in narrow lanes. The number of people in the fire control room has also been increased,” he said.
According to the sources, the burden of work increases significantly during Diwali with fire calls going up from an average of 30 to 200 per day. Their work requires making an effort in extremely dangerous situations which many a times means battling extreme temperatures.