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Gurgaon fire department feels the heat

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The dept. has 23 fire tenders and a sub-station in Manesar, but still depends on resources from private companies

The Gurgaon Fire Department, which has received an average of two to three calls per day this year, faces many challenges when it comes to fire-fighting. In fact, the department depends on resources from private companies.

Conceding that 23 fire tenders with four fire stations and a sub-station in Manesar were not enough to deal with cases reported from the Millennium City, Senior Fire Service Officer I.S. Kashyap said that the department’s resources, together with those from private companies, were adequate. “We have 23 fire tenders, besides two at the DLF fire station. Also, we had set up a sub-station at Manesar last year with two fire tenders. We also use services of a fire tender from Maruti Suzuki Industries Limited and Honda Motors each. Also, the Air Force and wireless stations in Gurgaon have two tenders each, which can be pressed into service in case of an emergency. All together, we have enough resources to deal with any situation,” said Mr. Kashyap.

The DLF fire station, India’s first private fire station set up in 2012, has two hydraulic platforms of 90 m height each, as opposed to the platforms owned by the Gurgaon Fire Department that are just 42 m in height. Mr. Kashyap said that the process to acquire two hydraulic platforms of 70 m height each was underway. “Our hydraulic platforms can rescue people till the 12th or 13th floor only. We need bigger hydraulic platforms and have put forward demands for platforms with 70 m height. It will increase our capacity to fight fire till the 27th or 28th floor. But more than hydraulic platforms, we need adherence to buildings laws on fire, and proper exits routes in case of an emergency,” Mr. Kashyap added.

Inadequate facilities and the limited number of fire stations have put the Millennium City at great risk, especially during the summer and with the increasing number of high-rise buildings. Gurgaon has around 800 buildings as high as 90 metres, while several others with a height of up to 180 metres are under-construction. The city has fire stations at Sector 29, 37, Bhim Nagar, Udyog Vihar-I and Manesar.

The Town and Country Planning Department, meanwhile, is giving a go-ahead to buildings more than 200 m in height, but the maximum height of hydraulic platforms can be 110 m. The focus of the Fire Department, therefore, remains on strict adherence to the law on fire safety.

Manesar’s Industrial Model Township, which houses over 700 industrials units, poses another challenge for the department, with the Kherki-Dhaula toll plaza proving to be a major hurdle by causing delays in reaching the spot. “Though we have set up a sub-station in Manesar to reduce response time, it has only two fire tenders,” said Mr. Kashyap.

Also, Old Gurgaon, which is mostly dotted with haphazard development and unauthorised construction, poses a different challenge altogether. Recently, the fire department had a tough time reaching the spot after a fire broke out at a bakery in the congested Sadar Bazar. Frequent fires in the Aravallis are an added concern.

According to Mr. Kashyap, strict implementation of fire safety norms has steadily brought down the number of fire cases in the city from 1,002 in 2012 to just 796 in the last year. The number of deaths has also come down.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2018 8:02:12 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gurgaon-fire-department-feels-the-heat/article8530032.ece