New Delhi: Fire accidents in the national capital has registered a slight fall following a ban on firecrackers during Diwali, Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Director Atul Garg said on Tuesday.
According to data, while 271 fire incidents were registered in 2018, it came down to 205 last year. In 2019, there were 245 cases.
Garg said his department is fully prepared ahead of the festival with a heavy deployment of fire personnel -- nearly 2,800 staff and over 200 fire engines apart from deploying 30 fire units across the national capital.
Talking to IANS in an interview, the DFS chief explained how well the fire department is set to tackle the ground situation while narrating the challenges faced during the most celebrated festival in the region.
Could you tell us about the arrangements made for Diwali night (Thursday)?
We have 64 fire stations across the capital. In addition, on Diwali night, we will deploy a special fire team of 30 units in different locations in the city where it is difficult to reach due to narrow lanes and congested housing settlements. These fire tenders will be stationed in the main market places like Lajpat Nagar, Bara Tooti Chowk, Chandni Chowk, etc. from 6 p.m. onwards.
How about the preparations at the departmental level?
Recently, we had a meeting to discuss the preparations, in which the availability of the fire fighting staff was ensured by keeping all fire units ready for the deployment position. Also, no leave shall be granted to staff on November 3, 4, and 5 considering the seriousness of the situation. Availability of vehicles and communication system with essential equipment and proper maintenance was also ensured.
How much time it will take for attending a distress call?
It will take three minutes in the daytime and five minutes at night but it depends on the traffic situation also.
What are the challenges during these operations?
We can reach the spot very quickly, however, in narrow lanes and interiors in a city like Delhi, the challenges are mainly due to the inaccessible locations. For instance in places like Gandhi Nagar and some East Delhi areas, fire engines cannot reach, in these cases, we have no other option than to park the vehicle outside and to walk to spot with pipes to douse the fire.
From the main road to the spot of the incident, it may take a lot of time if the path is too congested.
How will you tackle this situation presently?
Apart from stationing the fire units in crowded locations, two-wheelers equipped with fire-fighting gadgets will also be deployed in the streets and narrow lanes mainly in Shadipur depot, Kapashera, Sabji Mandi Ghanta Ghar, Paharganj Shiela Cinema Ambedkar Nagar, and Chandni Chowk.
Could you tell us the latest addition in the firefighting gadgets?
We had ordered two robots from Australia. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the process got delayed. However, I'm expecting these remote-controlled robots which have already been shipped reach us by this month end.
These robots can reach places where fire tenders cannot. For example, these robots can do well with crowded and narrow-laned places like Chandni Chowk and will be able to pump the water at a distance to the difficult places.