Smaller vehicles could be the answer when gridlock and narrow roads often prevent fire engines from reaching the spot quickly.

To escape Bengalurus traffic jams firefighters will soon drive jeeps Bullets Representational Image/ Royal Enfield Blog
news Fire Safety Friday, December 15, 2017 - 19:46

Everyone agrees that Bengaluru’s traffic is virtually unnegotiable. Between the burgeoning numbers of private vehicles, the narrow width of many roads, and the haphazard parking practice, the city’s average vehicular speed can be as low as 4km per hour.

And it’s not just cars and buses, even ambulances and fire engines often end up stuck in gridlock.

To counter this problem, the Karnataka Fire Department is now bringing in a fleet of smaller vehicles that can reach fires faster. The Fire Department informed the BBMP Council on Thursday that it has decided to add a fleet of jeeps, Tempo Travellers and Royal Enfield Bullets mounted with fire-fighting equipment to its existing conventional fire engines. This is in keeping with earlier requests of the Council that smaller firefighting vehicles be introduced.

“The Fire department said that in lot of areas in the city, the road is less than 10 feet wide but the localities are densely populated. Big fire engines cannot enter these roads if there are incidences of fire. So they have called for tenders to acquire small vehicles that can access these roads,” Bengaluru Mayor R Sampath Raj told TNM.

Deputy Director of the Fire Department Markandeya told TNM, “It is simply common sense that in Bangalore city we can’t reach with our heavy vehicles in time because of the traffic problem. That is why we want smaller vehicles or bullet-mounted units. They will act as quick response vehicles.”

“Some of these vehicles are already deployed in action,” he added.

Markandeya said that these smaller vehicles will be fitted with water tanks of 50 to 100 litre capacity with jet pressure equipment, and will act as the first responders in every fire and rescue incident.

The Department’s contingent at the Council meeting also urged that smaller fire stations be set up in every ward to improve the response time.

“The fire department manual dictates that there should be a fire station for every two-kilometre radius. But, on a priority, we have proposed to set up such utilities in areas surrounding slums. One such station can cater to five, six localities,” the Mayor said.

“The fire department officials have to take the proposal to their higher ups and they will get back to us,” he added.

On an average, 59 people die daily due to fire accidents in India, reported NewsLaundry last year. A total of 3 lakh people have died as a result of fire from 2001 to 2014, the article states. In this period, Karnataka recorded 20,339 (6.78%) of the total deaths.

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