Although the overburdened firefighters with their meager means successfully managed to douse fire at 35 places on Diwali last year, but availability of advanced equipment and filling of vacant posts is still a distant dream for the fire wing of Ludhiana municipal corporation.
Working with 14 old fire tenders without the required safety kits and equipment, the fire fighters will be seen working under tough conditions once again this Diwali.
At present, 18 posts of firemen, four posts of lead firemen, three posts of fire station officers and four posts of sub-fire officers are lying vacant. Despite writing to the government multiple times, the essential equipment have not been provided to the fire wing.
VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
It is learnt that the fire wing needs a long list of new vehicles and equipment, including 2 hazmat vans, 4 advanced rescue vans, 26 fire tenders, 11 water boozers, 5 foam tenders, 14 water mist on motorbikes, 10 high pressure pumps, 10 portable pumps, 3 aerial ladder platforms, 2 turn ladder tables, 15 jeeps, 5 light towers, 16 generators, 16 motorcycles, 16 mini fire tenders, 16 hydraulic spreaders, 16 hydraulic cutters, 10,000 liter chemical compound foam, 20,000 meter RRL hose pipe, 32 breathing apparatus sets, and 32 fire proof suits.
REPEATED DEMANDS YIELD NO RESULT
An official requesting anonymity said, they have been consistently writing to government to provide new equipment and vehicles but no measures are being taken. “The bikes provided by the government are not in use as there is no system to refill the fire extinguisher here. In narrow streets, the fire tenders cannot enter but only these bikes can,” he said.
A fireman said, “It is difficult to see and judge the condition inside the building on fire due to dense smoke and heat. Our eyes start itching and we feel difficulty in breathing. It is responsibility of the government to provide us with required equipment.”
“The vacant posts should also be filled. Every year on Diwali, I have to be on duty, as many fire incidents are reported on the same night.”
It must be mentioned that, nearly 40 retired firefighters and 12 retired drivers were recruited in the fire wing last year but there is want of young staff.
When contacted, Bhupinder Singh, assistant divisional fire officer Ludhiana, said they have written to government regarding the requirements of fire wing. “We are ready to tackle any situation on this Diwali,” he said.