Two hi-tech skylifts that can reach a height of 54 metres will be inducted into the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) fleet in January 2011.
The skylifts, for Chennai, are being procured at a total cost of Rs.10.23 crore from Finland. The increase in the number of high-rise buildings in and around the city has created a need for advanced fire-fighting and rescue equipment and vehicles, sources in the TNFRS said.
At present, the Fire and Rescue Services has four skylifts ? three of them in Chennai and one in Coimbatore. While two of them can reach upto 36 metres, the other two can be raised upto 42 metres.
The city witnessed one of the 42-metre skylifts in operation on November 20, 2008 when it was used to rescue two maintenance staff stranded 160 feet high on one of the floodlight towers at the M.A. Chidambaram cricket stadium, Chepauk.
Speaking to The Hindu, TNFRS director R. Nataraj said the new skylifts would have an aerial ladder platform of 54 metres which can be extended and entire platform can rotate 360 degrees. ?The vehicle will also have higher water dispersal capacity and all operations can be controlled by a computer onboard,? he added.
Orders to procure the vehicles from Bronto Skylift in Finland were placed last month. As part of the contract with the Finnish firm, six fire officers of the TNFRS would receive training in the operations of the new skylift at its manufacturing unit in Pori city, Finland. ?Officers of the ranks of District Fire Officer, Station Fire Officer and Firemen who have excelled in duty from around the State will be selected soon for the training programme,? Mr. Nataraj said.