In a bid to utilise resources better and for effective firefighting operations, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has revised its standard operating procedure (SOP). Under the new SOP, there will be six categories for mobilisation of firefighting vehicles and staff depending upon the seriousness of the incident. This is the first review of the SOP, which was put in place in 2016, after the death of four senior officers during a fire incident.
The fire brigade has introduced one more level, defining the seriousness of the fire incident, which will be categorised as ‘STOP’ and called minor emergency call under the ease of resource management and simplification of the existing SOP. According to the revised SOP, after ‘STOP’ call, next step will be ‘Level 1’ to denote a small emergency call, ‘Level 2’ a medium emergency call, ‘Level 3’ a major emergency call, ‘Level 4’ a serious emergency call and ‘Level 5’ a brigade call.
At present, there are 35 fire stations and 17 beat fire stations with 2,769 firefighting personnel to cater to a population of 1.25 crore and over thousands of high-rises. According to a reply available with activist Anil Galgali, in response to a Right To Information application, 25 per cent posts in the fire brigade are lying vacant.
Why the SOP has been revised
The Mumbai Fire Brigade came up with an SOP for firefighting and other calls like building collapse, rescue services in 2016. The SOP was introduced after the Kalbadevi fire incident, in which four senior officers, including the then chief fire officer Sunil Nesirkar, died.
With this revision now, STOP call will be attended by the station officer (SO), who will be the incident command officer (ICO). For Level 1, assistant divisional fire officer (ADFO) will be ICO. Later, divisional fire officer (DFO) for Level 2, deputy chief fire officer for Level 3, chief fire officer for Level 4 and, in brigade call, along with chief fire officer, concerned additional municipal commissioner and municipal commissioner will be involved. Officials said in the earlier SOP, fire calls were categorised into five from Level 1 to brigade calls based on the seriousness of the incident. In the past, for Level 1 fire calls, SO was the ICO, but now ADFO will take that responsibility. “During the review of the SOP, we have realised that the ADFO was not given responsibility of the ICO and from the station officer, the next ICO was a DFO. The revision in SOP will help in managing resources like fire engines, water tankers and personnel,” said a senior fire official.
“To cater to the challenges posed by infrastructure development and modernisation… the present response pattern and SOP needs to be changed every five years… for effective delivery of fire services,” stated the report of the revised SOP.
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