Home Ministry responds to The Hindu report

An advanced state-of-the-art ‘Skylift’ will soon become part of the fire fighting and rescue operations in high-rise buildings in Kochi.

The Ernakulam Division is one among the select regions in the State shortlisted by the government to enjoy the services of a skylift.

The Hindu had reported on June 30 that firefighters combating chemical and other disasters lacked equipment and special gear required in such operations.

Reacting to the report, Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said on Saturday that the advanced skylift will be able to reach up to the top floors of a high-rise building. The government has already initiated steps to purchase a skylift, he said.

Pointing out that paucity of funds remains a major hurdle in ensuring adequate equipment for firefighters across the State, Mr. Radhakrishnan said the government has approached the Centre seeking funds for stepping up disaster management programmes.

Senior Fire and Rescue Service officials pointed out that Skylift will enable fire fighters to combat fire in high-rise buildings and rescue people caught inside without having to enter through steps or elevators. The vehicle would be equipped with an aerial ladder that can rotate 360 degrees and reach up to the top floors of a high-rise building within minutes. The Skylift will also be equipped with a hose and other allied equipment to spray water. It will provide an easy approach to a high-rise building from outside.

The Minister said that the Department of Fire and Rescue Services will soon draw up a proposal to purchase advanced gear for firefighters combating chemical disasters. He said that the government will also conduct an assessment to ascertain the requirements in each division under the department.

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