Diwali: Firemen on high alert in Hyderabad

Children at a firecracker shop in Banjara Hills on Saturday. — Photo: Anand Dharmana

Hyderabad: With a view to meet any contingencies arising during Diwali celebrations, the Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Department has deployed its fleet of fire tenders across the city. A detailed preparedness plan has been chalked out by the higher-ups in the department and the same was circulated among the fire stations across the State, especially towns and cities. Officials have identified markets and fire cracker shop clusters as high risk zones.

“A fire tender will be kept ready to immediately take up rescue and firefighting operations in case of any eventuality. Licenses were issued to firecracker units to conduct business only after thorough inspection of the establishments,” said V Papaiah, Regional Fire Officer.

The department has identified several places in the city where firecracker stalls have been set up. Places such as NTR stadium, Numaish Grounds, Parade Grounds in Secunderabad and other places in the city were identified and a fire tender is posted at each of these spots. As for the rest of the spots identified by the department, either fire tenders or fire personnel on motorcycles will be deployed to monitor and swiftly act in case of fire mishap.

Staff at the Fire Control Room, from where firefighting operations are monitored on a real time basis, have also been asked to be on high alert. “Leaves of all the officers working at the control room have been cancelled. All the personnel have to report for duty, take calls and pass on information to the nearest fire station or firefighting crew. The situation will be monitored from the control room and depending on the severity of the fire, more tenders will be rushed to the spot,” an official at the Fire Control Room said.

Generally there is a surge in complaints of fire mishaps between 6 pm and past midnight during the three days of Diwali when people light up shops using serial bulbs, heavy fancy lighting or light fire crackers. “Establishments where combustible material is stored in large quantity are more prone to fire mishaps. Precautions have to be taken by the managements on fire safety,” said M Srinivasa Reddy, District Fire Officer, Hyderabad.

The officials have urged the managements to keep water containers like barrels and buckets outside their shops to ensure availability of water during any eventuality. “We have asked the HMWSSB authorities as well to keep a few water tankers on standby if need arises for replenishing the fire tenders while fighting any big blaze,” said the official. Fire officials have asked the public to inform them about any mishap at its control room on 101 or the police control room on 100 or local police station or fire station.

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