Srinagar- Fraught with the dangerous challenge of tackling frequent fire incidents in the winter season, the Fire and Emergency Services department has geared up its men and machinery and has put over 70 fire tenders on alert to meet any emergency situation in this capital city.
“We are fully prepared to meet any eventuality. Our firefighters are in a state of alertness,” Aqib Hussain Mir, Assistant Director, Fire & Emergency Services Department told Kashmir Observer Friday.
Mir said that over 50 fire tenders have been put on alert in Srinagar city only while over 20 small fire tenders are also at the disposal of the firefighters. Besides, he said, small size fire tenders have been introduced to enable access to congested parts of the city where normal-size tenders faced difficulties in reaching.
He said the department has procured Quick Response Vehicles (QRV), fire hydrants and mini water tanks to face any challenge in those areas which are congested.
“The main problem is people don’t call us on time. And when we reach the location, they try to douse fire themselves, thereby hindering our work,” he added.
Typically, the Valley experiences a surge in fire incidents during autumn season and the onset of winters due to dry weather conditions, coinciding with massive usage of electric devices, including heaters, oil filled radiators, electric blankets, besides gas heaters to combat the cold.
Last week, three tourists died and over five houseboats were gutted in an overnight fire incident inside the iconic Dal Lake. Prior to that, fire damaged a residential house in Bagh-e-Mehtab on November 9 which later engulfed another house and several shops leaving them in ashes.
On the same day, another incident was reported in Noor Bagh locality of the city causing extensive damage to a two-storey house.
According to the director F&ES, the department has received a major upgrade of all fire stations as part of the project under the Smart City project and Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project (J&TFRP)
He said all the 23 fire stations in the city have been upgraded under the project and their integration and also the development of over 100 fire hydrants at different locations.
“Large fire tenders with 7500-liter capacities have also been procured as part of the project for enhancing relevant capabilities of the fire service department,” he added.
According to data from the F&ES department, the valley reported over 2274 fire incidents in 2021 and 2336 in 2020. Over 1812 fire incidents in 2019, and 2741 fire incidents in 2018, while 2914 fire incidents were reported in the year 2017 and 3548 fire incidents in the year 2016.
The summer capital—Srinagar witnessed the highest number of fire incidents in the year 2021 in Kashmir, reveals the data available with Kashmir Observer reveals.
37 people have lost their lives while nearly 1700 structures suffered damage in 2500 fire incidents in the year 2022 only.
According to the Director F$ES department, the congestion in the city is one of the main reasons that the number of fire incidents is higher.
“And if fire breaks out during the night, our men face difficulties to reach the location because of unplanned car parkings on the roads.
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