Firefighters will soon get high-tech equipment such as multi-articulated water towers, which can move zigzag like a snake through narrow lanes and rotate at 360 degrees, and devices that can be controlled remotely to attend to fire incidents in Delhi.
These modern equipment are expected to reduce the threat faced by these daredevils and increase their capacity to rescue people trapped on buildings in congested areas.
The process to acquire these long-overdue equipment is in the final stage and the machines will be coming to the Delhi Fire Service at a time when the national capital has faced major fire incidents this year, the biggest of them in February when fire swept through a four-storey hotel in central Delhi''s Karol Bagh.
Seventeen died and 35 were injured as guests jumped off the building to escape the fire.
Fire department officials said seven equipment will be acquired in total at an estimated Rs 30 crore. The equipment will be procured through the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation which has the expertise to handle global tenders, they said.
These equipment include a basic turntable ladder (also called the hydraulic platform), four multi-articulated water tower and two remote-control fire-fighting machines.
The water towers and remote-controlled devices will be procured for the first time, said Vipin Kental, director of the fire department.
The water tower has four articulated arms which can move zigzag like a snake and rotate at 360 degrees. This will help firefighters in navigating through congested but popular markets or residential areas in the event of fire incidents.
"A major advantage with the equipment is, it can be used for operations in congested areas of Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk. In case of any hindrance in the first lane, it can cross over and reach the by lanes behind using its articulated arms," Kental said.
He said the turntable ladder will be procured through the DMRC as it is not available in the government e-marketplace.
At present, the DFS has four such ladders, used to rescue people trapped on high-rise buildings.
"These equipment will be purchased through DMRC as they have the expertise for handling global tenders," said Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg.
Explaining other features of the articulated water tower, Kental said its booms structure and that it is flexible helps it bend over and reach otherwise inaccessible places.
He also said that the remote-control devices, to be procured, can be carried on any appliance and can be operated from a distance from the fire using on-board camera.
"In case of a full-fledged fire, where the temperature is high and we feel that our firemen cannot bear so much heat, these remote-controlled operators could be used," Kental said.
There''s also the risk of the building collapsing. "So these machines can work continuously as it is also equipped with water jet, a high-power fan for ventilation," he said.
"In fact, these robots, will have water mist and would require less amount of water to control the fire. They can also be used in fighting fire in warehouses where its fan can even suck the smoke and blow it through its fan, if necessary," the officer said.
It can also be used for fire-fighting operations at Delhi Metro tunnels and at oil terminals, he added.
Other major fire incidents in Delhi were reported in AIIMS in August, and at girls hostel near Janakpuri metro station in May. Though no one died in these fire incidents, properties were damaged.