BMC Budget 2018: Drones and robots to aid Mumbai firemen

Updated: Feb 04, 2018, 11:56 IST | Laxman Singh | Mumbai

BMC budget outlines tech upgrade for Mumbai Fire Brigade

The December 29 fire at Kamala Mills has woken up the civic body to the need of better equipment in its fire fighting arsenal. Among the purchases that it plans to make in this regard are drones and remote control operated robots. On Friday, the BMC presented a budget for the coming fiscal year in which it has allocated '419.20 crore for the upgradation of Mumbai Fire Brigade.

Also read - BMC Budget 2018: Rs 197 crore allotted to infrastructure-starved hospitals

According to BMC officials, the fire brigade will purchase three drones, one each for the city, western and eastern suburbs. These drones have been designed with the help of IIT-Bombay and the civic body will soon finalise the cost they should be purchased at and start the tendering process. Explaining how a drone will help in fire rescue, a senior fire brigade official said, "In case of fire in highrises, the biggest challenge is locating where the fire is and also to check if anyone is trapped. The drones will help us find the exact location so that we can move swiftly. It can fly up to 100 metres."

He added, "Another drone will be designed in such a way that it will provide initial help in drowning cases. If we get to know that any body is drowning, then with the help of the drone, we can drop a floating tube to save them." The fire brigade is also in talks with the Mumbai Police and Aviation Ministry for permission to fly the drones.
Officials feel that drones will strengthen fire fighting in high rises. In 2014, a blaze at the 22-storey Lotus Business Park in Andheri had killed a fireman. During the fire fighting, about 11 fire fighters were trapped on 21st floor after communication was lost. Drones will be helpful in such cases, officials said.

Along with drones, civic body will also purchase three remote control operated robot fire extinguishers. Speaking to mid-day, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (Technical), RA Choudhary said, "These drones will play a crucial role in surveillance and assess the intensity of fire and move logistics where our reach is limited."

State of art drill tower
The Mumbai Fire Brigade is also planning to develop a state-of-art Drill Tower-cum-multi-utility training simulator, which they hope will simulate real-life Mumbai scenarios. An official said, "The multi-utility training facility will have confined search and rescue, vertical rescue, rope rescue etc. It will be constructed at the Wadala Training Centre."

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