Coming up soon: A new, improved Mumbai fire brigade

The Mumbai Fire Brigade is all set to get an Integrated Command and Control System at its Byculla premises by next year

As its next step towards modernising operations, the Mumbai Fire Brigade is all set to get an Integrated Command and Control System at its Byculla premises by next year.

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The Fire Brigade’s new command centre in Byculla was inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Sunday
The Fire Brigade’s new command centre in Byculla was inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Sunday

The centre aims at having real-time coordination between firemen and the control room where firemen will have access to live images of the spot, traffic on the way, and calls will be relayed directly to the fire station through GIS mapping. IIT-B is the consultant for this project and the process to award tenders is underway.

The 90-metre ladder, manufactured by Bronto Skylift from Finland was inaugurated along with the Fire Brigade’s new command centre in Byculla
The 90-metre ladder, manufactured by Bronto Skylift from Finland was inaugurated along with the Fire Brigade’s new command centre in Byculla

The project is aimed at reducing manual errors. The fire brigade recently got a new command centre and its 90-metre Finnish ladder inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Soon after, the training of firemen in the use of this tallest ladder in their arsenal started.

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

The firemen tested their training at the World Trade Centre on Saturday. Besides, the brigade has now announced another proposal to have a state-of-the-art control room on the third floor of the new building in Byculla which will harness the latest technology, ranging from GIS mapping to live feeds.

State-of-the-art systems
The fire brigade has sent out Requests for Proposals to invite companies to develop new software required for the Integrated Command and Control System. This software will allow computer-aided dispatch, GIS-mapping, GPS-based vehicle tracking, video imaging and video analytics, command and control.

“The objective of this proposal is to minimise human error. What happens is, the fire brigade is completely dependent on telephonic communication for relaying any message during emergencies. We want to bypass that by allowing calls to be directly connected to the concerned fire station.

The system will directly pick up the caller’s location if he has a GPS-enabled device or is calling through a landline phone. But if he is calling from a mobile phone, we will key in the said location of the spot in the system and an alert will be sent to the concerned fire station,” said R A Chaudhari, assistant divisional fire officer (technical).

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Besides, the system will pick up the traffic in a certain area through existing websites and relay it to the fire tankers to allow them to avoid a certain route. The brigade has appointed IIT-Bombay as a consultant for this project. “The initial budget of the project was Rs 25 crore when it was announced in 2012 but now we are expecting up to 10 per cent increase.

The Expression of Interest stage of the contract is completed and the interested companies have even made presentations. We will now shortlist the companies and the contract should be awarded within three-four months,” Chaudhari said.

The brigade has also made provisions to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the control room. The system will also have a backup control room, possibly in Borivli, in case the former is damaged in a natural disaster in any way.

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