HYDERABAD: After all the talk of unsafe hospital practices and scant disregard for fire safety, here comes another shocker. Hyderabad's fire safety infrastructure is in urgent need of an upgrade. In a study conducted by Dr Md Akhtar Ali, assistant professor in the department of geography, Osmania University, over 172 sq km of Hyderabad's MCH area (out of the 650 sq km under the GHMC), the city's fire response is badly hindered by poor distribution of fire stations. While each fire station should be so positioned as to responde to a fire call within five minutes, the case in Hyderabad is nowhere near that. The nine stations in the studied area are scattered, each covering a radius of 6 km rather than the mandated 2.5 km. This means that in case of a fire at your home, expect help to arrive only after a minimum of 30 minutes.
Dr Ali has come up with a model which he says is a plausible solution. "Considering the chocabloc traffic, the only way to handle the problem is by increasing the number of fire stations. There is an immediate need for 18 more fire stations, with each station catering to 20,000 to 1.5 lakh people and serving a radius of only 1.53 km," he said.
Dr Ali's study is based on mathematical tools to calculate the distance and population served. He also relied on the use of GPS to locate the existing fire stations in the MCH area. And finally, the road network using GIS technology was kept in mind as the prime requirement. The prospective locations of fire stations provided by him thus take into account population distribution, distance and accessibility, in equal measure.
"I have also suggested the use of smaller and sophisticated vehicles to serve narrow lanes in the city", he added.
Though Ali's has approached GHMC at various stages of his research, it is only now that the GHMC has considered to give it a thought.