Sixty seconds — that’s how long the fire service department has, once it receives a distress call, to dispatch a team of firefighters equipped with fire tenders and gear.
On Thursday, that’s precisely how long it took for 20 firemen and three officials to dispatch eight fire tenders after they received a call from a factory building in Sector 4.
A major mishap was averted by the firefighters of Phase I fire station who helped rescue at least 250 people trapped by a fire, which broke out in the basement of a factory in Block A, Sector 4.
The firemen risked their lives to reach the second floor of the building and helped rescue people stuck on the roof. At least three firemen, including the fire station officer Sushil Yadav, suffered uneasiness and infection due to the heavy smoke. But their efforts did not go in vain.
“We used traditional equipment such as ladders and ropes to rescue workers. We formed a bridge between two buildings and shifted people to safer spots. Ropes were also used,” Yadav recalled.
The 20-member Phase I power station team has responded to 375 cases of fire in 2016. Yadav claims that each and every call was treated with the same level of seriousness.
“It doesn’t matter whether we receive a call from a politician, a government official or a rickshaw puller in a slum. Once the siren goes off in the station, all we have is a minute to respond,” Yadav said.
With better equipment and increased number of vehicles, the fire team is all ready the summer, or the ‘fire season’, as it records the maximum number of fire cases every year.
“The fire season begins from March and stays till June-end and we work day and night during that time. Whenever the temperature is beyond 40 degrees Celsius and the humidity is low, the chances of fire escalate,” said Mahesh Kumar, a firefighter.
Recently, the fire station has procured a hydraulic platform that can reach 42 metres. The platforms are meant for rescues in high-rise buildings and residents of Noida had been demanding them for a long time.
“We had one hydraulic platform of 32 metre height and now we have one of 42 metres. Soon, we are going to have another hydraulic platform of 72 metres. These vehicles will assist us in accidents that occur in high-rise apartments,” Yadav said.
The fire station also has three different varieties of fire tenders, which are meant for different rescue operations.
“We have a water mist vehicle with a capacity of 400 litres and foam. It is meant for reaching spots that regular tenders cannot reach. The foam is used for dousing oil and chemical related fires,” Yadav said.
The team also has a water bowser vehicle with capacity of 12,000 litres and a water cannon vehicle with a 14,000 litre capacity.
“Our gear and water are ready in vehicles all the time, waiting for that call,” Gurdayal Singh, a fire serviceman, said.