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Firefighters saved 988 lives last year

Reduced fires by 13-60% due to prevention measures

Telangana State Disaster Response Force & Fire Services (TSDRFS) had an unusual 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, as it had to reorient itself towards safeguarding citizens from the virus, ensure hospitals treating the patients adhered to fire safety protocols and stand by the other uniformed personnel for any emergencies.

One fire service personnel fell prey to the novel coronavirus, while 251 recovered from the infection during the period as the department went about spraying sodium hypochloride inside government offices and places of public congregation, although it was later stated that spraying disinfectants in the open was of no help in fighting the virus.

But its personnel did take up public awareness campaign on social distancing, wearing masks and personal hygiene through posters and short films.

“We took up 223 surprise inspections and conducted over 1,000 mock drills during the time to ensure fire safety,” said Regional Fire Officer-Central Region V. Papaiah on Monday.

The heavy rains in October, which left several parts of the twin cities inundated for days together, presented another challenge as the fire personnel joined forces with GHMC’s enforcement directorate and disaster management department, police and other volunteers and rushed to the rescue of the citizens in flooded areas, shifting them to safer places.

Emergency complaints

The department attended to more than 7,000 emergency complaints and among them 508 were related to calls for rescue. The rest were with regard to responding to fires, both big and small. There have been no major cases of arson from anywhere across Telangana during congregations for religious purposes or otherwise, the RFO explained.

“We saved 988 lives last year either due to rains or fire mishaps and the property damage averted during the period amounts to about ₹828.29 crore,” said Mr. Papaiah. The department claims to have reduced fires due to careless smoking, short circuits, open fires, spontaneous combustion, sparks, furnaces etc., considerably between 13-60% due to the prevention control measures.

NOCs, clearances

Since it is a fire prevention regulatory authority, the department processed 5,394 applications for no-objection certificates (NOCs) and issued 612 provisional clearances and 266 occupancy certificates. NOC renewal was given to 200 applicants.

About 21 industrial applications were processed under the TS-iPASS and 14 provisional and seven occupancy clearances were given. Overall, revenue of ₹23.47 crore was collected. Cases were also filed against seven fire safety violators and notices were issued in five cases, he added.

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