99 officers to be hired for fire safety cell

Mumbai Fire Brigade is set to recruit 99 officers for a safety cell. The cell has been proposed to enforce Maharashtra Fire Safety and Prevention Act in all structures in the city. "As set out in BMC budget 2013-14, we will soon recruit 99 more officers. They will have to be trained and as this will not be a clerical job. Apart from inspection and enforcement of fire safety rules, they will have to actively participate in firefighting," said chief fire officer Suhas Joshi.

The cell will give special attention to assessing fire safety in government buildings and highrises.

Joshi said the increased force will also help devote resources to devising a plan for fire prevention in slums. Creation of a slum fire prevention and firefighting system is part of provisions made in the BMC budget. Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte recognised the need for a system here as a large portion of the population resides in informal settlements. "These areas have high densities and periodically face the trauma of fire accidents. I have directed the fire brigade to devise a system of community awareness and tailor-made machinery and methodology to combat fires," he said.

"We have asked ward officers to give us information on slums in each ward. We will also need details on areas in which these people live, their access points and specific problems that may cause fires. It will take time to create the system but we should be ready with a skeletal plan in a couple of weeks," said Joshi.

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