Four districts will have units of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) by 2015 and 20 acres of land has already been identified in Doddballapur to set up the Bangalore unit. This was announced by the officials of the Fire and Emergency Services at the Disaster Management Day programmes in the city.
“The process of acquiring land for this has been initiated,” said Om Prakash, Director General of Police (Fire and Emergency Services), at a two-day seminar on disaster management organised by the Madras Engineering Group and Centre.
“The SDRF will consist of 127 personnel and they will be trained to manage disasters,” he said, adding that personnel from Karnataka State Reserve Police (55), Karnataka State Industrial Security Force (51) and Fire and Emergency Services (21) will be included in the SDRF. He said `1,000 crore had been sought from the Centre for upgradation of Fire and Emergency Services, Home Guards, Civil Defence and for setting up the SDRF under the 14th Finance Commission.
Three More SDRF Units to be Set Up
Apart from Bangalore, SDRF units will be set up at Mangalore, Gulbarga and Hubli, said ADGP-Fire and Emergency Services, K L Sudhir. He emphasised that considering that the SDRF teams will be small, efforts have to be made to train other emergency response teams to support them.
“The police, Civil Defence as well as Fire and Emergency Services teams in all districts will have to be trained to assist the SDRF during an emergency,” he said. He was speaking at a Chemical Disaster Prevention Day workshop organised by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
B Dayanand, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), who also spoke at the seminar, said Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads (BDDS) will also be set up in Mangalore, Hubli, Gulbarga and Dharwad.
By 2015, the state-level command centre will also be in place, to ensure better coordination during emergencies.
‘Focus on Preparing for Emergencies’
Theoretical preparation to manage an emergency is not enough, stressed ADGP Sudhir.
“There are many loopholes with regard to the practical aspects of implementation that have to be looked into. Bangalore, with a population of over 1 crore is a vulnerable target. Everyone should be involved in preparing for an emergency. We have to create awareness among those living near chemical factories on what to do during an emergency,” he said.
He emphasised the need for better cooperation among various agencies involved, maintaining and updating a directory of contact numbers of all emergency personnel, training and preparing doctors to deal with mass casualties and setting up of more poison control centres in the country.
Unskilled labourers working in chemical plants too need to be trained in basic chemistry, precautions that need to be taken and procedures to be followed during an emergency, he said.
Ready to fire
DIG, Fire and Emergency Services, M Chandrashekhar, said the Fire Services department has made improvements in handling fire-related disasters. The back-pack system, also called mist technology, containing a chemical cylinder mounted on 48 motorcycles called ‘Agni’, has attended to several complaints. The mist technology comes in a bigger tank that is mounted on jeeps called ‘Varuna.’ This system mainly addresses concerns in small bylanes where fire tenders cannot reach.