Compared to our valiant soldiers who have different commercial organisations like AWT, Fauji Foundation at their back in case of any accident, these firefighters have to daily fight deadly fires in most testing conditions with least sophisticated equipment and hardly any specialised training.
The accident should be an eye-opener for people at the helm to take radical steps for saving this public service department by equipping them with the latest technology, training them on specialised fire-fighting particularly oil-and gas-related fires, adequate insurance coverage for them and their families and, most importantly, a professional and permanent fire chief.
SYED WAJID ALI, Karachi
(Dawn-6, Letter to the Editor, 23/01/2007)
10 new fire engines to be procured
KARACHI: The city government has allocated a sum of Rs100 million to upgrade the Fire Brigade Department on modern lines.
The procurement of ten new fire engines would be made through tender process, repairing of old and out-of-order vehicles as well as deputing new vehicles and staff at the newly constructed fire stations.
This was announced by City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal, while addressing a high-level meeting of Fire Brigade Department officers on Tuesday at his office in which all station officers and other officers were also present.
He also announced that fire officers would be sent abroad for training and fire service personnel would be able to have life insurance policies and a consultant firm would be hired to study the department and present ways to improve it.
The city Nazim said these major changes would be made within the next couple of months, including hiring of the consultancy firm that would submit their study report within three months to officials, technical and daily procedure to upgrade the department on the latest scientific lines. The government will also grant medical, insurance and other facilities to the fire staff. He also emphasised for training of the staff, provision of all necessary facilities, sufficient number of vehicles, latest communication system and imparting training to other departments.
He mentioned that the fire department officers would be sent abroad as well as other cities of Pakistan for training and the trained officer will impart training to their junior officials and the mechanism of training at all fire station would be operative.
Mustafa Kamal also expressed grief and concern over the recent deaths of eleven fire brigade officials in an accident in SITE area and instructed the concerned officials to maintain a report to minimise the chances of deaths in any fire accident.
He further asked the chief fire officer to hold meetings of Fire Brigade Department’s officers on a regular basis and consider the suggestions forwarded by the officers. He also mentioned that the chief fire officers as well as other officers should be given the authority of finance to address their problems.
He added that it is his mission to develop all fire stations on modern lines and provide maximum necessary equipments, for example, two new snorkels are also being purchased. He said that he would welcome all suggestions to improve the performance of the department.
Earlier, Chief Fire Officer Ihtishamuddin, Deputy Chief Fire Officer Naeem Yousuf and former CFO Kazim Ali presented a detail briefing to the city Nazim, regarding Fire Brigade Department.
(The News-3, 24/01/2007)
Fire station given to private party
KARACHI, Jan 23: A deal struck between the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and a private concern may expose the families of fire fighters to increased pollution, besides impeding fire-fighting operations in Korangi.
The city government has signed an agreement with a private party which provides for the setting up of a concrete mixing plant in the Korangi fire station.
This has set alarm bells ringing, fuelling speculation that before long a major civic facility might face dislocation because it is based on prized land and being eyed by the land mafia.
Once the ready concrete mixing plant starts functioning, the firemen’s families living in the Korangi Fire Station residential quarters would be exposed to extra ordinary sound, dust and hydro carbon smoke which would be highly injurious for their health.
The possession of plot ST-8/1 measuring 1.71 acres in Sector 26 Korangi Industrial Area housing the Korangi Fire Station was awarded on a letter issued by the Deputy District Officer (W&S) Korangi Division-1, CDGK, dated November 16, 2006. The letter in question does not bear a letter number and bears signs of handwritten correction. It also does not bear the signature of D.D.O Works and Services, instead some other officer has signed for the D.D.O on such an important legal document.
Well placed sources in the city government told Dawn several ambiguities in the letter were pointed out by the chief fire officer in his dispatch to the District Coordination Officer (DCO). Subsequently, the DCO cancelled the allotment through a letter with the subject “Cancellation of Letter No. Nil, dated 16.11.2006”.