To improve its response time to distress calls and the quality of its rescue action, the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) has invited an expression of interest to set up a new fire alert monitoring system replete with the latest technology and gadgets. The brigade plans to replace its current control centre, which has 16 telephones for the helpline ‘101’ manned 24X7 by 10 firemen in shifts of three, with an automatic web-based system that is connected to all fire stations across Mumbai.
“We are planning an integrated state-of-the-art control and command system equipped with modern technology. Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS), our new centre should be able to trace the caller’s name and location automatically, saving time in relaying information to fire stations near the spot of distress,” said deputy chief fire officer Sunil Nehsrikar in-charge of the brigade’s administration.
The fire brigade is specifically looking for a computer modelling and software that will automatically acquire and log details of any distress call it may receive on its helplines. Using this data, the control system, with its in-built software for vehicle-dispatch solution, will issue alerts to the concerned fire stations, conveying the brigade’s engine needs to tackle various kinds of disasters, including major blazes.
“From the call details, the software will automatically be able to address the grade of the fire and dispatch the recorded information to the nearest fire stations. The officer in-charge of the operation can access the data on a computer screen fitted in our fire engines while in transit. This limits the manual interface in the current system, as there is often the possibility of a communication gap or human error here,” Nehsrikar said.
The MFB’s need for an upgrade in fire alert monitoring system comes after the brigade faced severe criticism in the recent past for its inadequate equipment to tackle major blazes in high-rises or slums, especially during travelling peak hours.
While internationally, response time for fires is at a maximum of four minutes, in Mumbai the time taken by the brigade to reach the destination is twice the estimate (8 to 10 minutes) for the island city, and four times longer (15 to 18 minutes) for the suburbs.
“In the second phase of our revamp, we will take the help of live video feed from traffic cameras. We will incorporate another software in the system that will guide the fire engines to the spot through the shortest route possible,” another senior fire official said.