Delhi fire department gears up for summer

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New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) From restricting leave for its staff to ensure maximum personnel are on standby, overhauling all vehicles and equipment to making special arrangements to respond quickly to fires in agricultural fields, the Delhi Fire Service is gearing up for a busy summer as the rise in mercury often means an increase in the number of fire-related incidents.

The fire department will also conduct various public awareness and sensitisation programmes to educate people about steps to prevent fires, officials said on Sunday.

With summer approaching, there is a rise in temperature. This also leads to a rise in fire-related incidents, Atul Garg, director of Delhi Fire Services, said.

Until February, the department received a maximum of 35 to 40 calls about fire-related incidents per day. In March, the number of calls has doubled. Now, the fire department attends to around 90 calls per day and this is likely to further increase by April, he said.

'The fire department would need extra manpower. So, a preparedness plan has been chalked out to tackle a busy summer and it will be reviewed from time to time,' he added.

According to the plan, in order to ensure that maximum firefighters are on standby, leave for all staff have been restricted. Leave will be sanctioned by the head of department at headquarters level and divisional officers at division level, the officials said.

The fire department said all vehicles and equipment have been overhauled and kept ready for deployment. Further, this is the first time that the maintenance contract has been given to authorised agencies so that the down time of vehicles can be reduced, they said.

During summer, fire-related incidents are also reported from agricultural fields in rural areas of the city. The fire department is planning to station smaller units in these areas so that in case a fire breaks out, firefighters can reach the spot quickly and prevent any major damage to crops, Garg said.

'As per requests received from the local authorities in such areas, we plan to make special arrangements by setting up smaller units there. Outpost fire stations such as Narela and Khera Dabur will be strengthened to deal with crop fires,' he said.

Each fire station will also conduct various public awareness and sensitisation programmes to educate the public about steps to prevent fires.

As part of the sensitisation programme, the fire department will conduct a half-day basic firefighting training for the staff of nursing homes and hospitals at the Fire Safety Management Academy, Rohini to better equip them to deal with any emergency, the officials said.

Standby services provided by the department for private affairs will also be restricted to ensure that maximum number of fire tenders are available for deployment during a firefighting operation, they said. PTI AMP DIV DIV