Fire department for insurers bearing firefighting costs

It wants better infrastructure, modern gadgets for its men

The Fire and Emergency Services department has strongly recommended to the State government that the insurer must bear the expenses incurred by the department during operations to save property during fire hazards.

Senior officials in the department have suggested that since most of the properties, both private and commercial, are insured, this proposal is fair and can be implemented easily. 

“Since neither the municipal, state nor national law imposes ‘fire tax’ on the occupants of properties, the entire cost of fire extinguishing operations is borne by the government. Consequentially, we are considered a loss making unit.

That has discouraged governments from upgrading the department. Our department must be developed on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force that renders service to private organisations for a fee,” says B K Hampagol, retired Fire department official. 

This will require the insurance company to pay the expenses incurred by the Fire department while saving properties. 

“While the insurer pays the settlement to the insured, he can pay the fire service agency.”

“It is a reasonable revenue generating model. The Fire department can definitely use the money for modernising technology and providing personnel standard equipment.

 Eventually, the insurance companies will pass on such additional expense as a rider, while selling policies to clients” Vinod Manjunath (name changed), a insurance consultant said.

“Compared to the global standards of Fire department, we have one of the most ill-equipped infrastructures and poor working conditions for our men. Neither our uniforms nor gadgets are fire resistant. We have seen some of our personnel choke due to lack of oxygen during fire operations. It is only due to their personal motivation, they effectively deal with adverse conditions,” Hampagol said.
 “We don’t even have real time communication or devices like global positioning system to efficiently reach the scene of fire. We are forced to depend on local residents to find the location. If the arrival is delayed, we face people’s anger,” a senior fire official said. 

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