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High-tech ladder takes Fire Services Department to new heights

M.T. Shiva Kumar

Skylift will help fight high-rise blazes more effectively



More MUSCLE:The ladder platform of the Bronto Skylift F54 HDT 2000 is fitted to a Volvo chassis and can become fully operational in two minutes flat.

Bangalore: The Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services has gone high-tech with the arrival of the advanced hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladder from Finland, capable of reaching a dizzying height of 54 metres (roughly 13 storeys high).

This Rs. 10-crore equipment, popularly called the Bronto Skylift, will boost the department's capability to combat fire, particularly in high-rises. It will be formally inducted into the department's fleet on Thursday, when the National Fire Safety Week opens.

Carlton Towers

Last year's Carlton Towers fire on HAL Airport Road, which claimed nine lives, had exposed the department's unpreparedness to handle high-rise conflagrations. According to the department, some 800 fires are reported in the city every year, of which at least 5 per cent are in high-rises.

“The increase in the number of high-rises in the city has created the need for such advanced rescue and fire-fighting vehicle,” an officer at the R.A. Mundkur Fire and Emergency Services Academy told The Hindu here.

High water discharge

The ladder platform of the Bronto Skylift F54 HDT 2000 is fitted to a Volvo chassis and can become fully operational in two minutes flat. It has a high-capacity stainless steel waterway for flows up to 2,000 litres a minute.

The vehicle has an integrated rescue ladder and a safety cage which has a 400-kg capacity. The unit can turn 360 degrees to make rescue and fire-fighting operations easier.

Four people can sit in its air-conditioned cabin and all operations can be controlled by a computer onboard.

“Our firemen had to struggle to reach the fire-affected parts of Carlton Towers. This new vehicle can help them tackle any major fires with ease,” said an officer at the Mayo Hall fire station.

The department has selected some firemen for specialised training in operating the vehicle. Sources said experts from Finland would train them.

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