After the mega mock drill for earthquake preparedness, a proposal is under consideration to reduce the response time of fire tenders from the current seven-eight minutes to five minutes. Also, purchase of smaller vehicles for fire-fighting is being mulled over that can reach the spot first. The reduction in reaction time was suggested by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The concept has been discussed by UT Adviser K K Sharma with the Municipal Commissioner. As per the proposal, at the time of the outbreak of a fire, the fire tenders should reach the site of the incident faster. For this, there is a need for smaller vehicles as the bigger vehicles can get stuck in traffic. The aim is that the smaller vehicles can reach first and start dousing the fire before the tenders arrive. This could reduce the damage.
There are seven fire stations at different locations in the city. It is proposed that the smaller vehicles could be deputed at locations apart from the fire stations like police stations so these could be sent across immediately.
Sharma says, “The officials of NDMA informed us about the reduction in reaction time to around five minutes as per some new norms. In order to ensure this, we are working out a holistic plan for upgrading the fire services. Administration can provide the funds for the same to the Municipal Corporation. Since there is a chance of bigger vehicles getting stuck in traffic, purchase of smaller vehicles is being mulled.”
At certain locations in villages and colonies, there is a lack of adequate space for fire tenders to enter. The roads are close together to such an extent that even four-wheelers face a tough time commuting. Frequent jams can be seen at these locations.
A proposal was already doing the rounds for construction of four new fire stations, of which sites for two have been earmarked. The Ministry of Home Affairs had also written to the MC about starting a fire academy in the city that could cater to the region.
The mega mock drill that was held on Wednesday revealed gaps in the disaster management capabilities in the Tricity. A review meeting of NDMA officials with the officials of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana was also held on Thursday. The deputy commissioners of the Tricity will soon submit a report of the mock drill with their observations.