Fire dept unable to dodge admin, traffic issues

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Published on February 27, 2021 by

Department seeks permission from the government to build 20 new fire stations and make
joint inspections mandatory.

Bangalore: An incident on the outskirts of the city highlight the shortcomings of the
Karnataka Fire Service. A plastic recycling unit burned down in the early hours of 13th
February in Kumbalgodu. The fire brigade’s response time was delayed by 45 minutes.
According to a report, on Fire Hazard and Risk Analysis in Karnataka, the average
response time in urban areas should be between seven to eight minutes and in rural areas
around 20 minutes. The fire station from where the brigade came is situated 15 kilometres
away in Nagarbhavi.
Fireman, K. Surya said, “At 11:20 we got a call. We were near Nagarbhavi University, from
there we came to the spot, we used around 8,000 to 9,000 litres of water to douse off the
fire.”
When the CityCast asked Directorate General Fire Services, Shiva Kumar, if the delay was
due to less manpower, he said, “Most of the delay is caused due to traffic. We’ve written a
letter to the state government to build 20 more fire stations. Right now we don’t let the lack
of fire personnel affect our response time or performance. We are ready within a minute
once we receive a call.”
While addressing the issue of fire in local warehouses, the Director said that many of
these godowns are on the outskirts of the city and do not have the required No Objection
Certificate (NOC) to operate. The department has reportedly written another letter to the
government to make ‘joint inspections’ mandatory to give a license to godowns.
A report by OP Bhagat, Ex-Chief Fire Advisor to the Government of India suggests that
there should be one fire station every 10 square kilometres in India for rural and urban
areas. However, right now Bangalore has only 25 fire stations against the requirement of
72.
Currently, the fire department has vacancies for 1,657 positions. The recruitment process
for these positions is underway and will take another 9 nine months to fill the gap. The
letters were written by the fire department to the Karnataka government still haven’t
received any response.
The Fire department said they have organised several drills and drives for the citizens.
They urge people to come and learn the basics so that it is helpful in times of emergency
and should not just depend on the fire brigade. The cause of the fire at the plastic unit is
not known yet, an FIR was registered in an unknown person’s name.

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