By equipping fire stations with better infrastructure and helping fire-fighters build capacity, the A.P. Disaster Response and Fire Services Department hopes to tackle different types of disasters.

The new fire stations will feature dormitories, recreation rooms, store-rooms, a living hall, changing rooms and huge storage spaces. Nine of such stations have already begun operations in the State.

“Given that it is our responsibility to control disasters like fire, floods, cyclones and earthquakes, we need our men to be in a good ambience,” the department’s Director General N. Sambasiva Rao said.

Mr. Rao explained that each station, in a built-up area of 3,500 sq.ft, would be refurbished at a cost of Rs.40 lakh in a phased manner. So far, work has begun at nine fire stations – Eluru (two), Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam, Ongole, Anantapur, Ramagundam, Secunderabad (North), and the one in the Secretariat.

“Capacity building for my men has also begun. For example, we brought in a retired senior naval officer to teach them how to handle flood situations,” he said, adding that the training was on the lines of that provided to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

“We wanted to develop their capabilities. For that, good infrastructure and training is important. Apart from chemical disasters, we can take care of any type of situation,” he claimed. There are 261 fire stations in Andhra Pradesh, with 89 of them located in Telangana.

“There numbers are less in Telangana because the fire stations were set up based on requirements. For example, Krishna district has the highest stations at 21, because it has high incidence [of fire disasters],” Mr. Rao mentioned.

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