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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Firemen to tackle disaster management as well

Firemen to tackle disaster management as well

M. Malleswara Rao

Rs. 65 crore sanctioned to restructure Fire Service Department

HYDERABAD: The 5,000 odd fire servicemen of the 253 fire stations in the State will no longer be idle round the year.

The entire force and its functioning is in for an overhaul. Plans have been formulated by the Government to raise a new and full-fledged force from these uniformed men called State Disaster Management Response Force to undertake rescue and relief operations during floods and tackle aftermaths of the calamites like cyclones and earthquakes.

The Government on Monday sanctioned a sum of Rs. 65 crore to restructure and modernise the Fire Service Department with proper training to these men in swimming, boat-riding, weather-reading, handling of ham radio etc to meet the emergencies of disasters. They will also be roped in to the restoration programme to reclaim infrastructure facilities like roads and tanks damaged during the calamity.

Though they will continue under the control of the Fire Service Department, the DMRF men will be made available to meet the needs of affected people as and when requisitioned by the Commissioner, Disaster Management.

Four teams

The plan provides for forming four big teams of DMRF with fire servicemen for the State with headquarters at Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati.

To start with, Rs. 17 crore had been released to the department go ahead with the plan to form the State’s first team at Hyderabad. The team will be equipped with multi-purpose vehicles and sophisticated gadgets.

To serve the country as a whole, the Union Government, however, deployed several such teams at national level at different places, including at Chennai and Bubhaneswar.

The Chennai team has been asked to serve the south Andhra and that of Bhubhaneswar, the upper portion of the State, including Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts which are often battered by cyclones.

Meanwhile, the much-awaited State Disaster Management Authority has been formed for the State in line with the Central guidelines headed by the Chief Minister, with Chief secretary designated as its convener.



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