Shortage of fire engines in Dimapur a big worry for firefighters
DIMAPUR, APRIL 13
FREQUENT fire incidents as fierce as the April 12 one at Signal Basti in Dimapur undoubtedly call for more fire engines in Dimapur district. This was evident from the fact that the existing six fire engines in Dimapur Fire Station took hours to douse the devastating inferno that occurred here in the early hours of Saturday even when traffic was at rest unlike the busy hours of the day.Talking to Eastern Mirror, OC of Dimapur Fire Station A Wati Jamir, who was posted in Dimapur in 2013, said since January 2014 till date, 33 fire incidents occurred in Dimapur. This is the maximum number of fire incidents he has ever come across in less than four months, Wati said. He also stated that four fire incidents happened in and around the city just in a day on March 31.
The Dimapur Fire Station located at Police Colony is the only fire brigade in Dimapur with just six fire engines and 50 staff, including a sweeper and some who are on sick leave for months. Unlike other government offices, Fire Service is one of the busiest departments with no holiday even on Sundays or during festivals. And the emergency duty party of any fire station works from 8 am to 8 am while the station duty party works in groups on a rotation basis after every two hours under an officer.
The Fire Brigade personnel follow a strict rule wherein ‘roll call’ is taken three times in a day. The missing staff are questioned for their disappearance and punished for their disappearance without any valid reasons. Also, after every assignment attendance is taken and the injured personnel are taken care of while some are even awarded for bravery for their life saving works.
While the hardships faced by them go unnoticed, ‘blames’ and ‘criticisms’ seem to accompany them when the fire engine reaches the incident site a little late. Every citizen despite knowing about the pathetic condition of roads and traffic jams in Dimapur fails to understand the fact that even the engines undergo the same kind of ‘traffic jam’ while reaching the spot.
Natural calamities like fire incidents know no time and can occur any time. So in order to deal with such circumstances the fire brigade personnel in Dimapur are always on the alert with their six fire engines (three engines with 4500 litre capacity and three with 4000 litre capacity) filled with water and ready to move whenever urgency arises.
Wati said the six fire engines, each of which lasts for only up to five minutes depending on the water force, are too less to fight major fire. To substantiate his point, he said to fight the blaze that broke out at Signal Colony on Saturday morning six fire engines were not sufficient which is why two fire engines had to be called from Chumukedima Fire Station. He said at least eight fire engines should be available in a town like Dimapur and added that the man power in the fire station is also considerably very low.
He also said the only portable pump which was used to fetch water in an easier and faster way got damaged during the March 18 fire incident at Kirha village. It was taken for repair by the head office but has not been replaced as yet. So, the fixed pump attached with the fire engine is the only pump being used even during emergencies. The present season which is considered to be the driest season of the year with fire incidents occurring now and then, the need for such necessities should be met with urgency.
Nagaland has altogether 10 fire stations while Peren and Longleng have no fire stations.
When queried whether the department is planning to open any substations in a place as big as Dimapur, the OC replied said plans are on to set up new substations as the existing only station takes time to reach out to far off places even during emergency due to traffic and distance problem.
One of the officials of the station said some public not only complains and criticises but also give ‘fake fire calls’ that cause alarm in the station. One fake fire call may be just a prank from the other end but the alarm and the commotion caused due to a hoax call creates tension in the station.
State Fire Services exigencies for safety and compliance
1. Call and inform Fire Services immediately as and when fire breaks out. Do not panic.
2. Do not misuse Fire Service telephone numbers. It is a punishable offence.
3. Give right and precise information.
4. Use appropriate fire extinguishers at the initial stage to contain fire.
5. Do not pour water on Oil and Electrical fire. Use appropriate fire extinguishers.
6. Inform Power Department to cut off power line in the locality to avoid further disasters.
7. Give way to Fire Tenders to pass unobstructed.
8. Fire sirens are not to be used by any other individual or organizations. VIPs and other utility services may kindly use their respective sirens.
9. Locate the fire incident spot, guide and show fire personnel the shortest possible route.
10. Locate source and supply water at the vicinity of the fire incident.
11. Do not disturb or drag the Delivery Hose while fire personnel are combating fire.
12. Install fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire hydrants and sprinkler systems at homes.
13. Every household should maintain a small water tank to meet any fire hazards before fire personnel arrive.
14. Kitchen fire, gas, candles, lamps etc. should be properly extinguished when not in use.
15. Use certified and standard electrical appliances, viz, wires, plugs, fuse, switches, sockets etc.
16. Prepare family fire evacuation plans and have regular mock drills.