Learning to play with fire: Pune’s fire department organise pre-Diwali fire-safety campaign
As part of the week long awareness drive, they plan to hold feature rallies, road shows, fire-safety training, art fair, exhibition and street plays to introduce interactive and engaging fire-safety related activities among the youth.pune Updated: Oct 11, 2017 23:48 IST
To safeguard citizens, especially children, the fire departments of Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), along with a NGO Safe Kids Foundation, has launched a pre-Diwali firecracker safety awareness campaign. As part of the week long awareness drive, they plan to hold feature rallies, road shows, fire-safety training, art fair, exhibition and street plays to introduce interactive and engaging fire-safety related activities among the youth. Further, fire safety procedures from the Honeywell-funded Safe Kids at Home program curriculum will be leveraged during the awareness drive. As many as 100 volunteers, including parents and teachers, will be inducted as fire safety ambassadors, called ‘Agni Suraksha Mitras’, in areas that come under both PCMC and PMC to help deal with fire-related emergencies.
“We want Punekars to exercise caution while bursting crackers. I urge parents and the elderly to supervise children playing with fire crackers and be aware of the fire safety measures. Our aim is to create a safe environment for Punekars, enabling them to enjoy the festival of lights happily and confidently,” said Prashant Ranpise, chief fire officer, PMC.
Reiterating that prevention is better than cure, Kiran Gawade, chief fire officer, PCMC, further added, “Disaster is another side of the coin which comes hand-in-hand with development and we are here to prevent and tackle such disasters. But citizen initiatives are very important to make this possible and for this, we urge everyone to be conscious of the damage caused due to minor fire mishaps and act responsibly while celebrating the festival.”
However, a reason behind the continued chain of disasters every year is being blamed on the lack of enough staff in the fire safety department. “In total, we have only 500 staff under the fire department while the requirement is of 900 people,” Ranpise said. Ruing on the same issue, Gawade added, “PCMC has a population of almost 25 lakh citizens, for which we only have a small staff of 135 individuals, which is not enough at all. However, are doing our best with what we have.”
The officials further pointed out that the incidence of illegal firecracker shops in residential areas have come down phenomenally as compared to previous years, which they believe will have a positive impact in reducing disasters in the city. “We received a total of 80 to 85 applications of which, only 70 individuals were given permission,” Gawade added.