No automatic vehicle tracking system for DFS ahead of Games

The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) had on April 13 announced that it would procure GPS-enabled AVTS ahead of the October Games, which the fire-fighters had said would help in improving their response time during emergency. The system can help in routing, dispatch and monitoring of fire tenders.

"The system has not come. We were planning to have it before the Games. We don't have a digital map of the capital which suits AVTS and that's why it is not happening," R C Sharma, Director of Delhi Fire Department, told PTI.

The Comptroller and Auditor General had in its report for 2008-09 released in April this year noted that the fire brigade was so ill-equipped and short staffed that in 77 per cent of the 3,950 cases it studied, rescue workers reached the spot well after the stipulated five minutes.

It also noted that in 2,472 cases the fire tenders reached the spot with a delay of one to 15 minutes while in 560 cases, the delay was more than 15 minutes. However, Sharma sounded confident in dealing with any emergency during the Games saying that 600 well-equipped fire-fighters will be deployed for the sporting extravaganza.

"We have given clearance to all the venues except for the practice venue of Shivaji Stadium where construction is still on and some Games flats in Vasant Kunj," he said adding, "our men were given venue-specific training."

The fire-fighters will be equipped with secured wireless communication system using TETRA technology, he said, adding the DFS has also procured five fast response vehicles with water-mist technology for the Games.

"We cannot say that there will be no fire incidents during the Games. There may be incidents. We cannot avoid incidents. But we are prepared and any incident will be tackled immediately," Sharma said.

The fire brigade is putting in place a three-tier fire-fighting plan for the Games, which include dedicated fire stations at venues and backpack fire-fighters helping evacuation of sportspersons and spectators during any emergency.

There will be an in-built fire safety system in each stadium in which fire-fighters will be spread across the facility to douse flames and evacuate people, Sharma said. The second layer is that of deployment of rescue workers with fire-fighting equipment in a backpack while the third layer will have standby mobile teams outside each venue. All venues will have a dedicated fire station with upto three fire tenders and backpack fire-fighters.

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