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Fire Service goes hi-tech

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

To help its men overcome disadvantages while fighting fire

NEW DELHI: On a high alert with as many as 80 calls coming in daily, this is the fiery red-hot month for those in the Delhi Fire Service (DFS). However, this time round the DFS men will not feel the heat under their collar.

To combat city fires and keep its men safe, DFS is introducing high-protection suits and precision equipment that would help its men overcome the disadvantages of narrow buildings, illegal constructions, basement fires and combat chemical and hazardous fires in the city and surrounding areas.

Topping the list of this multi-crore deal are the triple-layered fire suits that will help its men cope with heat, acids and corrosive chemicals. Each suit costs about Rs. 60,000. The gear, according to officials, is of international standards giving the firemen easy mobility and protection. The new equipment includes small-diameter hand-controlled water-hose lines that work specifically at the fire source cutting down the large amount of runoffs at fire sites and reducing fatigue among firemen.

Also brought in are high-power cutter specifically modified to dig, lift and pull. The DFS has also acquired a Rs. 14.4-crore one-tonne capacity truck carrying chemical powder to combat oil, gas and chemical fires.

"Another area which has been of interest to us is the development of communication equipments which would include computerisation of fire control room that will also act as an information centre. Any call being made to this place would be recorded and firemen would be given information about the special risks in the area where the fire has occurred including the layout, the kind of fire and will also run a check on any hazardous material that the men will need to look out for. It would also tell the official about the nearest fire station, cutting down the travel and response time'' said a senior DFS official, G.C. Mishra.

The DFS has also acquired cutting edge foam generator equipment to help the firemen get the better of chemical fires in basements and small areas which cannot be entered.

"Our data from 2004 has shown that we have lost 10 men to various accidents. Fire-fighting is a high-tension job. Besides the obvious dangers it is also very stressful with the men suffering from exhaustion and severe health problems after every major fire. There was a need to update our methods and equipment not just for the safety of the city, but also to enhance the working capacity of the department,'' said Mr. Mishra.

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