GUWAHATI, Oct 5 - The fire and emergency services of Assam are going to witness a massive facelift in the days to come and the organisation is also in the process of acquiring drones and robots soon. Meanwhile, the introduction of the �Bipad Bandhu� (friends during disasters) force will be of major help for the people facing any kind of disaster, particularly in the remote areas.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Special Director General of Police, in charge of Fire and Emergency Services, BJ Mahanta said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has been taking keen interest not only in the creation of the Bipad Bandhu force but also in the overall modernisation of the fire and emergency services. In fact, Sonowal recently attended a function to mark the completion of training programme of a batch of the Bipad Bandhu force to encourage the youths.
Mahanta said the fire and emergency services are going for a major upgrade in the coming days with introduction of modern equipment. The organisation will acquire drones and robots shortly, while special suits have been procured for deep divers, who are engaged in rescue operations, particularly during floods. He pointed out that procurement of drones and robots would be of great help during disasters and the drones would also carry small fire fighting equipment.
Steps have been taken to amend the archaic Fire and Emergency Services Act, while the officials are in consultation with experts from different parts of the country to further improve the services. The organisation presently has 137 fire stations in the State and the men are trained to handle all the equipment made available.
New training courses and methods are also being introduced regularly to improve the standard of manpower. �The personnel of the Services are on their toes all throughout the year and they are even called out to rescue animals. In fact, our personnel have managed to prevent more than ten suicide attempts in the past three months alone,� Mahanta said.
Giving details of the concept of creating the Bipad Bandhu force, Mahanta said it is primarily a voluntary service where the youths are trained to handle natural and other disasters so that they can act as first responders before the arrival of the fire and emergency services personnel. He said three courses have been devised for the youths who have volunteered to be members of the force. There are 21-day and 10-day courses, and the third would be an elementary course. He said so far, 210 boys have completed the 21-day course, while 60 others have completed the 10-day course.
Mahanta revealed that in addition to the fire and emergency services personnel, the youths of the new force would also impart training to people in their localities about the use of electricity, LPG, etc., as most of the fire incidents take place from these two sources. They are also trained to provide first aid whenever required.
Though the Bipad Bandhu force is a voluntary service, a proposal has been moved to the government to provide the members of the force some remuneration as is given to the members of the village defence parties.