Fire fighters in the city may finally get some reprieve and better resources to combat distress calls, thanks to the fire service department’s decision to add water trucks to the fleet of vehicles to ease fire dousing operations.
The department is planning to buy at least ten water trucks in the next few months.
“In many cases, water is not readily available to fight fire. As it is there is scarcity of water, and in many instances, we use fire tenders continuously to bring in water during operations,” explained director general, AP Response and Fire Services, S V Ramana Murthy.
In one of the most recent cases, the fire which broke out at Musheerabad on the night of March 17, could be extinguished only the following morning. It clearly pointed out to the issues faced by fire fighters in dealing with the flames due to non-availability of water.
“To douse a small fire we need at least 50,000 litres of water, and for a bigger fire, there is a requirement of at least 200,000 litres. Fire tenders cannot hold so much water as they need to travel. Hence we will make sure that a water truck with around 1,00,000-1,50,000 litres of water is present while fighting infernos,” Murthy ascertained, adding that in many cases, fires were put off late due to lack of quick access to water.
He also said in the Musheerabad case, the owner had also flouted rules by using the building for commercial purposes though it was meant to be used for residential purposes.
“This is one of the major reasons why so many fire accidents take place. Many building owners simply try to avoid installing safety equipment, by showing us that it is residential in nature, just to save some money. But it later adversely affects them,” he added.
For commercial buildings above 15 metres, owners must get a clearance from the fire department after installing the necessary safety equipments.
Water scarcity for fire tenders is not new. When a fire broke out last year in Gandhi hospital, fire tenders had to finally call in water tankers from the water board as the flames kept resuscitating with no water available in the premises.
An official also said during the fire accident which destroyed hangars at the Begumpet airport, there was barely any water available in the pool to use. “The damage would have been much less had the pool been full with water,” said the officer.
GPS and centralised control room soon
While non-availability of water is one of the problems constantly being faced by the fire department, fire-fighters many a time find themselves scouring for the location or the areas of the distress calls, due to lack to clear directions.
But it will be much easier for them now as all tenders in state are set to be equipped with a GPS systems to help them find locations.
“Along with that, we will also soon have a centralised control room to immediately provide information to the fire stations,” said Ramana Murthy. These new systems are expected to be installed in a month’s time. “All the measures will be functional soon after we enter new financial year,” Murthy said.