The team of fire fighters from the Fire and Emergency Services sent to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for relief and rescue operations consists of people who only know swimming and are not professionally qualified to undertake diving operations.
A total of 60 members,25 from Ahmedabad and 35 from Rajkot,Surat and Vadodara were sent to the southern states after the Krishna River breached its banks last week. M S Dastoor,Additional Chief Fire Officer said: We never had professional divers. They are trained in swimming only. The fire officers here do all the work whether it involves emergency on land or in water. But,we hand-picked some good firemen and sent them for the rescues operation. It was a government order,which we had to follow.
He said the team carried equipment like boats,life-jackets and ropes from Ahmedabad.
Incidentally,only 100 of the 326 people working as fire-fighters in the Fire Department are swimmers. They were last trained in 2001-02 of which 100 were trained in water rescue operations,but were not given any professional training in diving.
Dastoor said: The team is present there for the last couple of days and has carried out few rescue operations. The people there are habituated to water but this time major losses were reported. There was nothing much for a team from Gujarat to do. They should have rather stayed here only. We have asked them to come back.
The recruitment drive in the Fire and Emergency Service Department in Ahmedabad,that was taking place after 16 years this August,was postponed.
The drive,which was meant for the recruitment of potential swimmers and divers,has now left the Fire Department clueless about of the next recruitment drive.
The Ahmedabad Fire Department is still anticipating getting professional divers and swimmers to strengthen the team,whereas AMC claims it doesnt know when the recruitment of professional divers will take place.