Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 26: Mumbai city continues to witness major fires, especially in high-rises. As per the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB), 2,925 fire-related calls were recorded from January 2023 to July 2023. The major fire incidents were recorded in high-rise buildings like one at R A Residency, the SRA Building in Kurla, and one at Breach Candy. As per MFB data a total of around 10,000 emergency calls have been received, of which 2,925 fire calls, 4,515 rescue calls, and 2,533 other calls.
In the year 2021-2022, the Fire Department responded to 12,815 emergency calls, of which 3,484 were fire incidents, 5,557 were rescue calls, and 3,985 were other incidents. A total of 15 people died in these fire incidents, and 110 people including 9 firemen were injured. According to the officials, in each fire incident evacuation of the people was a primary challenge. Especially in high-rise buildings, evacuating people from higher floors without any guided evacuation solution is tough. It is recorded that mainly people died of suffocation and not by injuries or burns. In a recent Dadar high-rise fire, a 60-year-old man also died of suffocation. If we look closely we will see the dire need for evacuation solutions for a vertically growing city Mumbai. However, recent developments by the state government and fire department have increased awareness owing to adequate evacuation solutions for faster and safer evacuation, resulting in fire calls going down shortly.
R N Ambulgekar, Chief Fire Officer of Mumbai, said, “Throughout the year, we firefighters do our best to ensure the safety of our citizens. It’s the hardship of my fellow members that we have been able to save millions of lives during fire emergencies. I request all citizens adhere to fire safety and evacuation norms for safer living.”
During Independence Day, the Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashwini Bhide said, “The Mumbai Fire Brigade of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation stands as a beacon of firefighting. In a metropolis like Mumbai, which is marked by towering structures and skyscrapers, evacuation holds paramount importance during fires. To enhance safety in tall buildings, the Maharashtra Energy Department mandates fire evacuation lifts for structures over 70 meters. This aids swift evacuation during fires, especially for vulnerable groups. Fireman evacuation lifts are also required for firefighting ease. The launch of the AgniRakshak training two years back, a civic awareness initiative by MFB, and the implementation of fire evacuation lifts in tall buildings underscore Mumbai’s commitment to safety. This Independence Day, let’s collectively pledge to prioritize fire safety, embracing evacuation protocols as a cornerstone of our city’s resilience. With unity and awareness, we can ensure a secure and thriving Mumbai for all.”
Fire Officials further said that the fire department and Municipal Corporation of Mumbai are constantly working on building a new efficient infrastructure to minimize the loss. Currently, Mumbai has 35 fire stations and 19 Mini fire stations for rescue operations. Recently, at ward level 22 Quick Response Vehicles (QRV) have been introduced to respond to fire incidents at the earliest. A new design of Combined Fire Fighting Vehicles has been proposed. These vehicles will have a hydraulic platform, water tank inside the fire engine, and rescue vehicle. It’s under process, and soon the Mumbai Fire Department will have such advanced cars for rescue operations.
The Industry Expert, Dr. Vikram Mehta showed his concern by saying, “Metropolitan city like Mumbai needs stricter rules for fire prevention and precautions. Timely evacuation will save lives, and the firemen will not have to struggle to reach higher floors. The state government has already made an advisory on Fire Evacuation Lifts for high-rise buildings, and the responsible builders have accepted it with goodwill. Mumbai will be the first city in years to be prepared with an evacuation plan for sudden fire emergencies.”
On average, over 5,000 fire calls are reported in the city every year, and 70% of fires have electric origin.
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