Fire fighting in the State is all set to leverage the latest technological developments. If plans of Andhra Pradesh Fire Services Department fructify, fire-tenders will soon be equipped with digital cameras enabled with a direct satellite link and Global Positioning System (GPS).

With these cameras, officials can watch fire-fighting operations live from the spot through screens installed at the upcoming command centre in the head office here.

Field officers can be guided on effective manoeuvring of fire-fighting to reduce the extent of damage and in rescue operations from the proposed command centre.

Depending on the necessity, authorities can mobilise additional fire tenders to the spot to control the flames.

Added to that, these cameras can also be used for protecting the crew from assault and verbal abuse at the spot.

The footage will also help in training of new recruits and investigating the cause of fire. The cameras come with zooming facility and can be installed atop the fire vehicle and can pan and tilt as required on the spot.

The GPS will help officials at the command centre to know the exact time at which fire tenders reached the spot after receiving a call.

“We can know the fire vehicle turnout time and track its movement till it reaches the accident spot,” said Fire Services Director-General S.V. Ramanamurthy. The government has sanctioned Rs.47 lakh to implement the project and tenders that were already called for.

“In the first phase, we are planning to cover 50 per cent of 261 fire tenders in the State and the process will be completed by April end,” Mr. Ramanamurthy. The new initiative will help the department in maintaining data about the reaction time of fire-fighters on receiving a complaint. Presently, there is a significant time lag in finding out the status of mishaps in rural areas and officials have to depend on the report submitted by the local District Fire Officer (DFO).

The department is taking the assistance of GVK-EMRI, which is presently involved in health emergency services such as 108 as it has necessary resources. A.P. will be the first State in the country for implementing Automatic Vehicle Location Tracking System, he added.