Firefighting departments in India are increasingly relying on cheap fire-extinguishing equipment to fight fires, a recent report has revealed.
The new report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) found that in India, around 50% of firefighting departments are using cheap fire fighting apparatus (FFAs), the report found.
It is an alarming development for the country, where fire departments have been grappling with poor quality of fire fighting equipment for years.CSE said that there are more than 60 firefighting FFA’s in the country which are often built on the back of faulty or obsolete equipment.
This is the first time that CSE has reported the use of such outdated equipment in firefighting, the report said.
The report noted that, of the 575 districts in India where firefighting is done in large numbers, the prevalence of FFA was at least 10%.
In the five districts of Bihar, the number of FAs was estimated to be less than 0.2%.
“Fire departments in the state are being forced to use a number of outdated and ineffective firefighting equipment,” said Dr Amitav Chandra, Director, CSE.
He added that the use and use by the departments of old and outdated fire fighting gear is making it difficult for them to maintain the equipment.
“The lack of equipment also has a big impact on firefighting in the rural areas, which are vulnerable to forest fires, the CSE said.”
In the past, the state governments had given FFA to fire departments, but it is now the duty of fire departments to use it,” Chandra added.
According to the report, the cost of the equipment varies widely across states.
In the rural districts of Maharashtra, which includes the district of Gwalior, the average cost of an FFA is around Rs 10 lakh, whereas the cost for a fire-fighting FCA in the district is estimated at Rs 25 lakh.
In Karnataka, the FFA cost is around $6,000 while the cost in the city of Kochi is around 50,000.
The cost of fire-fighter equipment in India is increasing at a rapid pace, the study found.
According the CSEE, the amount of equipment purchased in the past has fallen to about 7% of the total amount of available FFA in India.