The fire services and emergency department in the district would be caught up in a quagmire if all its fire units were called out for an emergency. The department has not enough firefighters.
Against the required staff strength of 162, the fire department here has only 69 employees. Moreover, the two fire stations here - at Barwala Road, which is also the head office, and Azadnagar, which is a sub-station - comprise seven fire tenders and two fire units respectively.
Norms require that for each fire tender, a total of six firefighters should be present during a work shift of eight hours. This means that for all the seven tenders, in a single shift, there should be 42 employees.
And for a single day - comprising three shifts - the department requires to have a minimum strength of 126 firefighters. However, the reality is that only 12 or sometimes 15 employees are present in the entire office for one shift.
Likewise, the Azadnagar sub-station, which operates with two fire brigades, has 21 firefighters against the required strength of 36.
With no fresh recruitment having taken place for quite some time now, the department is managing work with a mix of permanent as well as temporary employees who are also referred to as "outsourced". This many see as a "dangerous trend" as, according to them, the ad hoc firefighters have nothing to lose to work responsibly.
"A permanent employee knows he has a long service and any mistake on the job could jeopardize his career. However, the contractuals don't have any such issue. They are there for a year and can leave even midway," an employee said, without wishing to be named.
Officials of the department refused to comment
"Recruitment is a government policy and we can't comment on that. However, presently we are managing with whatever resources we have," in-charge deputy fire officer of Barwala fire station, Shubhang Chander, said.