90-m ladder: Seven fire officers may finally get to train in Finland

New proposal signed by civic chief Ajoy Mehta, to send firemen to receive advanced training, will be forwarded to the Urban Development Department within a fortnight; the department had earlier shot down the proposal, sent in April, citing inappropriate paperwork

After being shot down earlier for want of appropriate documents, the proposal to send seven fire brigade officers to Finland to receive advanced training to operate the newly commissioned 90-metre ladder (Sky Lift) has once again been given the green signal by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

Also Read: Mumbai Fire Brigade's tallest ladder fails to reach full height

Fire officials tested the Sky Lift at the World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade. File pic
Fire officials tested the Sky Lift at the World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade. File pic

The proposal will now be forwarded to the Urban Development Department (UDD), within a fortnight, for the final approval. Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh confirmed that though Mehta has signed the proposal, it still requires final nod from the UDD.

Once the proposal is approved by the UDD, seven fire officers will be sent to Finland to attend a weeklong advanced training workshop. This workshop will enable them to use the ladder efficiently, as well as maintain it. The fire brigade recently acquired the ladder, tallest in the country, which can be used to tackle fire in high-rises of up to 30 floors.

Read Story: Will Mumbai fire brigade's tallest ladder rise to the challenge?

The manufacturing company, Bronto Skylifts, as part of its contract, was supposed to train fire officials on how to use the equipment. In August, after the ladder was commissioned, an engineer from the Finnish company conducted a 10-day workshop to teach firemen the basics of handling and maintaining the ladder.

As per the protocol, any civic employee going abroad for official reasons requires sanction from the state. A proposal for the same was sent to the UDD in April, but was rejected citing inappropriate paperwork. Besides, the proposal was put on the back burner after four senior fire officers lost their lives in the Kalbadevi fire mishap.

A workhorse
At the workshop, firemen will be taught to handle the ladder and the vehicle it is mounted on. While the vehicle weigh 52 tonnes, the platform mounted on the ladder can bear load up to 500 kg. This platform will enable firemen to rescue up to five people at a time.

The vehicle and the ladder were manufactured at the cost of R16 crore, including the customs duty. In case the diesel engine malfunctions, the entire vehicle can be operated using batteries. Another important feature of the vehicle is that it can be remote controlled from a distance of 500 meters, ensuring operators’ safety while tackling a major disaster.

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