VIJAYAWADA: The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams of Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP) sixth battalion posted at three ghats — Durga ghat, Punnami ghat and Sangamam ghat in Ibrahimpatnam — have so far rescued 36 people from drowning in River Krishna since its inception in 2017.
Along with the rescue operations, the SDRF teams have retrieved 40 bodies from rivers and canals.
With a strength of 96 out of 128 sanctioned, including one reserve inspector (RI), two reserve sub-inspectors (RSIs), six assistant RSIs, 23 head constables and 64 constables, the SDRF company has been performing rescue and relief operations during cyclone and floods, life saving operations across eight districts.
Speaking to TNIE, APSP battalion commandant Vishal Gunni said a total of 60 personnel, formed as two teams, are rendering their services to avoid untoward incidents at these ghats and Prakasam barrage, where the chances of people committing suicides are high. He further said the average response time of SDRF is less than two minutes. “In a shift wise manner, SDRF personnel will be making rounds at these ghats to avoid people commiting suicides. In a record time, SDRF personnel reached the scene and rescued a woman in less than a minute when she jumped from Prakasam barrage three days ago due to personal reasons,” Vishal Gunni explained.
What really matters for SDRF when it comes to rescuing people is time and alertness. “We have 19 personnel below 30 years of age, 30 personnel between 31 to 35 years, 24 staff between 36 to 40 years and 17 between 41to 45 years. Only six are above 46 years. However, we have the best swimmers in our team who are trained to perform duties in extreme conditions,” Gunni explained.
In order to perform better, the response team personnel were given training in SDRF basic training - mainly focussed on rescue and search operations at collapsed structures. “With the little training they were given, the SDRF sixth APSP team rescued 132 lorry drivers and attendants without any loss of property when they got stuck in a canal in March 2021. As many as 16 SDRF personnel were recommended for ‘Jeevan Raksha Padak’ awards,” he added.