Lack of sufficient protective helmets, fire proximity suits and safety masks has become a cause of concern for the state disaster response and fire safety services department that is already suffering from manpower crunch. With an average 8,000 fire mishaps per year recorded in Telangana, fire brigadiers most often are exposed to severe risks of burning themselves.

Take the case of the recent petrol tanker fire in the city where three firefighters from Moula Ali fire station had received burn injuries on ears and hands. While all of the fighters did not protect themselves properly owing to an emergency, one fighter sustained burns due to the use of cap-helmet, which is not sufficient to save them from the fire.

“I had burns on the back of my ear because of the half helmet. It could have been avoided if full face international grade firefighting helmets are provided to us,” said A Bheem Rao, one of the injured firefighters.

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In one shocking revelation, when KhabarLive visited Sanathnagar fire station, firefighters were seen urinating in the same compound where they rest, as there are no toilets. “It is one of the poorly equipped stations in terms of infrastructure. But we are working to find an alternate land piece near Erragadda to shift the station,” said V Papaiah, Regional Fire Officer, TSDRFSD.

A similar situation persists at Kukatpally fire station where a small shed in JNTU campus has been turned into a fire station. The station has no parking space for the only HazMat (Hazard Material) fire truck available in the State.

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“During our training, we are made to tackle any emergency with the least available manpower or equipment. So, we are getting used to this,” observed G Sunder Raj, a firefighter who recently joined the services. Meanwhile, P Govind, president of TSDRFSD Employees Association said that there are inadequate masks & fire proximity suits that deny minimum safety required for firefighters.

As the police stations have their jurisdiction mapping showing critical areas of conflict, we should also have handbook that tell us about high and low rise buildings to help us understand the kind of fire that can arise, he added.

Minor fire breaks out in restaurant: A minor fire accident broke out at the kitchen in a restaurant near Santosh Nagar Colony in Hyderabad. However, no injuries were reported. The fire broke out in the chimney in the kitchen of Crystal Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant is located on seventh floor of the building. The fire call was attended by Malakpet fire station and fire was doused within twenty minutes, informed officials.

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Crying for attention: Under Rakshana — a mutual employee co-operative scheme, firefighters and officers are entitled to `3 lakh and `6 lakh respectively in case of fire accident related casualty or loss of life. Fire fighters and officers pay a sum of `500 and `1,000 respectively every month until their retirement.

There is no specific insurance policy safeguarding the life of a fire fighter
The employee health scheme is the only govt supported aid that helps firefighters to get reimbursement in case of injuries. #KhabarLive