Small, nimble vehicles to the rescue

Motorcycles, cars equipped with portable firefighting equipment can weave through traffic jams

Though Delhi Fire Service may lack world-class firefighting equipment, it has upgraded its facilities by buying high-capacity foam fire tenders and small vehicle-mounted fire tenders to facilitate manoeuvrability in congested areas.

The department has also acquired portable spectrographs, which lend it the capacity for chemical analysis in cases of fire triggered by chemicals. Besides this, DFS has quick reaction vehicles equipped with the latest state-of-the-art fire-fighting equipment and water mist technology-enabled backpacks.

“We have procured high-capacity foam firefighting tenders to douse chemical fires where water is ineffective. Portable spectrographs help in on-the-spot identification of chemicals involved in fires. It helps firefighters to use the right method for dousing blazes,” said DFS chief A K Sharma.

Motorcycles and Toyota Innova cars equipped with portable firefighting equipment further help firemen to make their way through congested lanes and traffic jams, and reach locations inaccessible to normal fire tenders.

It also means that firemen can rush to the spot before bigger fire tenders reach there. The DFS has modernised its control system with the latest global positioning system tracking system.

“The vehicle tracking system helps in improving our department’s response time by finding the shortest route to the spot. This ensures that firemen can reach a spot within five minutes of an emergency call,” Sharma said.

However, unlike fire departments in Western countries, DFS does not have professional paramedics. Sharma said the Capital already has teams of centralised accident and trauma services (CATS), which also respond to fire calls.

“We provide basic first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training to our personnel. Other emergency medical situations are handled by CATS and local hospital personnel.

I believe that healthcare should be handled by professionals,” he said. The department may also benefit by adding tactical support unit vehicles that are equipped with generators and high-intensity lights for use during low light conditions.

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