The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued a tender notice this month to procure five fire bikes or bikes modified to a firefighting vehicle, that carry up to 40 litres of water and other firefighting equipment.
The fire- bike concept was introduced after the 2016 Kalbadevi fire to navigate congested areas and reduce response time. The fire department also held a demonstration in 2016 of one such modified bike at the Byculla command centre, where a Royal Enfield Himalayan 410CC bike was modified to a firefighting vehicle.
The Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) had tabled a proposal before the standing committee last year. However, the proposal was referred back, as a single bidder had expressed interest. Following this, the MFB re-opened the tender earlier this month. Each bike is expected to cost around Rs 10 lakh and the department expects to shortlist a contractor by next month. As the response to the tender has been poor in the past, the BMC has opened tenders for five bikes on the trial basis. If successful, it will procure 24 bikes, one for each of the administrative wards.
The fire bikes are expected to help reduce response time significantly during disaster situations in heavily congested areas. In addition to the water tank, the bike can carry a high-pressure hose reel, GPS. The pump attached to the fire bike can spray about 8 litres of water in a minute, said a fire brigade official. Two fire officials can ride the bike and can reach the spot before the team reaches with the water tankers and fire engines and give an early understanding of the situation.