What does the Mumbai civic budget have in store for fire safety?
In the backdrop of a spate of blazes that broke out across the city at alarming intervals throughout last year, fire safety for the city is set to get significant billing in Monday’s civic budget.
One of the top priorities of the Mumbai fire brigade is to enhance the skills of its personnel, besides the usual upgrading of firefighting equipment, according to a senior officer.
The officer said, “The fire brigade wants to focus on honing the skills of its personnel. The next year will see firemen travel to other cities and also countries to learn new skills. When it comes to equipment, the Mumbai fire brigade is almost up to date.”
The fire brigade recently acquired a hazmat vehicle — equipped to fight fires caused by biological, chemical and other hazardous materials. The staff will now undergo training in how to use the vehicle.
The brigade could also acquire firefighting robots — miniature machines fitted with thermal cameras that would aid personnel during challenging situations.
The firefighters will be trained on how to use them.
The past year saw comparatively more high-rise fires in the city, such as the incident in Beaumonde towers, an upscale building in Prabhadevi, the fire in Parel’s Crystal Towers high-rise that killed four people. Both fires exposed safety hazards in high-rises.
In December, a fire at Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital killed 11 people.
The fire brigade received 4,204 fire-related calls between December 2017 and November 2018 that killed 115 people, according to data from the fire brigade obtained through an RTI query by city-based activist Shakeel Ahmed.