THE largest recruitment drive by the Mumbai Fire Brigade in many years ended with multiple emergency calls to hospitals, with over 20 aspirants completing their physical tests with injuries, exhaustion and dehydration.
Some of those leaping from a height on to the jumping sheets sustained multiple scratches and even broken bones. “The sheets are not the problem. The aspirants appearing for the test are given proper instructions before they jump. They sustain injuries as they fear heights,” said Chief Fire Officer P Rahangdale, adding this part of the test left 10-15 persons injured.
The recruitment drive is being conducted at the Borivli command centre of the fire department. It began last week to fill 774 vacancies, and will continue till September 7. According to Rahangdale, almost 5,000 aspirants have turned up during the past three days.
Dr K G Pimpre, medical superintendent of Kandivli Shatabdi Hospital where some of the injured candidates were admitted, said, “Most of the patients were treated on out patient department basis.” Their medical expenses were taken care of by the fire department.
“Out of the 5,000, around 2,000 candidates were shortlisted for further screening. The requirement to jump from a height is an important part of the job. We have to screen people who are not only medically fit, but also mentally and physically fit. If someone can’t pass this test, they will face problems during a real rescue operation,” said Rahangdale.
Emphasising this was one of the biggest recruitment drives in the last four to five years, Rahangdale said the fire brigade needed manpower for the new vehicles they were buying and for the proposed 10 mini fire stations.
Some candidates fainted while trying to complete the 800-metre run. Three women fell unconscious from exhaustion while running.
“However, like in the Olympics, women are doing better at such tests. There was one woman who jumped and sprained her back, but decided to jump again in order to qualify,” said Rahangdale, adding that some physical fitness tests were different for men and women. “Women have to do long jumps instead of pull-ups,” he said.