In any fire tragedy the nation loses precious lives and valuable assets, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday as he inaugurated a Skill Development Centre (SDC) for Fire Safety Training of DRDO that will provide quality training to fire personnel to prevent such losses.
The SDC of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh is the first of its kind in India. It has been created by adopting state-of-the-art technology and setting up simulation systems for the validation of fire at a realistic scale in order to meet the challenges and enhance the skills of Defence Fire Service Personnel and combatants from the armed forces, the DRDO said.
In his inaugural address, Singh lauded DRDO for this significant step in the field of fire safety. "In any fire tragedy, the nation loses precious lives and valuable assets. To prevent such losses, this training centre will go a long way in ensuring quality training to the personnel and preventing such mishaps," Singh said. He also highlighted the loss caused due to fire incidents. Citing the figures of the National Crime Record Bureau, Singh said every fifth death in the world due to fire occurs in India.
In 2018, there were 13,000 fire incidents in the country and an equal number of deaths, he said. He further added that every day, 35 people die due to fire. Of these, two-thirds are in the age group of 18-40 and half of them are women. "These fire incidents and the loss of lives and property is not less than a silent pandemic," he said.
Spread in a 24-acre area at Pilkhuwa, the DRDO facility would be utilised for imparting fire prevention and fire-fighting training to the fire service personnel of Indian armed forces, DRDO, Ordnance Factories, Coast Guard and defence undertakings. In addition, trainees from Bhutan, Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries would also be imparted training at the centre.
"The facility is likely to strengthen their knowledge and fire-fighting skills and prepare them for handling fire threats in the emerging high-tech environment. Training of fire personnel in such high standard facilities will result in high levels of fire safety awareness and implementation of safety provisions in defence establishments, thus leading to minimisation of losses and property due to fire accidents," the statement added.
Constructed as per international standards, the SDC has four bays with fire-fighting and rescue appliances such as hydraulic platform, air crash fire tender and emergency rescue tender, which will be used for imparting practical/hands-on training besides an important life-saving personal protective equipment for the firefighters.
The Centre has a fire drill tower with an emergency escape chute which would be used for simulation of a fire in high rise buildings, a breathing apparatus training facility, a model fire station housing specialised fire-fighting and rescue appliances, an LPG petroleum tank farm simulator, fire suit test and evaluation facility, a hostel and transit facility and administrative and training facility.
The facility would be maintained by the CFEES (The Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety is an Indian defence laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation). The CFEES, which carries out safety audits, training activities and R&D activities in the area of the fire, explosive and environment safety. Every year 400-500 personnel are being trained by CFEES in modules customised to the needs of Ministry of Defence (MoD) establishments.