A steep rise in the number of fire-related calls over the last four months – more than 600 calls were made during the period to the Pune Municipal Corporation’s fire department – has kept the fire brigade personnel on their toes. Short circuits, vehicle fires and garbage burning were among the major reasons for these calls, said Prashant Ranpise, Chief of PMC’s fire department.
Summers are always a challenge for the department since fire incidents tend to double in number during the season. Usually, there are 400 fire calls every four months and an average of 1,200 every year. This year, however, there have been 600 fire calls, Ranpise said, adding that they have now pushed their proposal again for five more fire stations in addition to the existing 12.
During summers, there is increased use of electronic equipment like fans and air-conditioners. This leads to overheating of wires. Multiple connections at a single plug point can also result into overheating of the socket which then causes a short circuit, Ranpise said. This year, calls reporting incidents of vehicles catching fire also went up in number. Of these, 10 were about two-wheelers catching fire, 46 about four-wheelers, six about buses and another six about two-wheelers at a parking lot, according to Ranpise.
There was one instance wherein a vehicle hit the rear of a bus where the CNG kit is located, leading to a fire.
Fortunately, there were no fatal accidents, Ranpise said. Meanwhile, PMC’s fire department is busy organising events during the Fire Service Week, which is observed nation-wide from April 14-20 every year in remembrance of the lives lost in the devastating fire that erupted and the explosions that followed on April 14, 1944 at the Victoria Dock in the Bombay Port and also to prevent fire in all industries and homes.
PMC’s fire department is observing a fire safety week in association with Safe Kids Foundation, India, with focus on preventing burns and scalds among children.
Manish Parmar, programme manager of Safe Kids Foundation, said that in 2014, a survey showed that approximately 76,000 children in Pune under the age of 14 suffered burns and scald injuries. Of these, about 3,000, or an average of eight kids a day, suffered third-degree burns, the worst type of burns causing maximum damage.
Awareness activities commenced in the city on Friday, with rallies at J M Road and several other events, Parmar said.