An Interface with Shree M. F. Dastoor Chief Fire Officer Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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Q1. Could you share with our readers about successful life Journey?

I have been a Commerce graduate from Gujarat university 1983 Batch. I began working as shift duty office at a textile mill during the early days of my carrier. After this I then Joined NFSC as a Sub officer post  and  later on then started working at the Ahmedabad Fire Brigade since June 1984 as a Station officer. While working in the fire Service i then decided to do my Station officers and Instructors course (Diploma Fire Engineering) and Divisional Officer and Instructors course (Advanced Diploma Fire Engineering). All course from NFSC  with Honours. Promoted as a Divisional officer in 2001, Dy. CFO in 2003, Addl. CFO 2004, CFO in 2006.

Apart from the above I was decorated with Mayors medal for Meritorious services in 1987 & 2001. Mayors Gallantry medal in 1992. PRESIDENT of INDIA medal for Meritorious Services in 2001.

I was often called as Guest faculty to NFSC.  That's not all I had also got an offer to train 51 people from the state to train for collapsed structure rescue, road traffic accident, confined space rescue, pre hospital emergency medical care, high angle rope rescue in Netherlands and Germany. 49 people were trained, and was also selected as an international trainer for the above. To add a few I Have been an instructor for training CISAR team, (Chinese International search and Rescue Team).

My best  Passion is Designing of Fire appliance and equipment. Almost all  vehicles in Ahmedabad after 1995 are my design. Innovate high pressure 100 bar mist fire fighting system on vehicle, introduced it for small fire appliances throughout the state. Innovated a positive pressure ventilator in the service 600000cfm.

Q2. As the CFO Ahmedabad what was your most challengeable fire which you extinguished till date?

If you're talking of a challenge then fire which is extinguished is not considered as a challenge but fire which could not be extinguished is said to be a huge challenge. There are 2 incidents which happened it was because of lack of equipment & manpower that was a reason.

One was just grass fire which was a hash tag of 18 square meters & a surrounding of 10000 s2 meters & it was packed with base & that went on fire it was away from Ahmedabad were we could not have any other resources except only 2 pumping units for firefighting units for firefighting  & those days we do not have this kind of infrastructure as we have in the present day where we could have around 10 – 15 fire fighting vehicles so it happened that after 24 hrs of firefighting we called in a plough dug up the land around Hash tie filled it water from a nearby well & let it burnt away so that the fire could not spread that it was what we could do to control the fire as we had a team of only 10 Firemen & 2 pumping units

Second was on 5th January 2013 a fire had taken place in Surat Hazira which could not be extinguish, as there were many reports & specs which went against the polices was not being followed that was lack of planning, lack of maintenance of firefighting equipment at the site had this been in place like fire pumps did not work, fire water tanks were empty, the foam tanks were empty, the pipe lines were ruptured. People going in for maintaince of the tank were when a fill tank was there on a holiday a team of maintance workers went carrying with them cutting & wielding equipments they should not have been permitted hence it was lack of following some guidelines which was mandatory for safety & prevention.

Q3. What was the best successful Industrial fire that you have doused in your region?

I have been lucky to extinguish 2 oil well blow out, one at Navagam near south of Ahmedabad and one at  Kuhakanbha East of Ahmedabad. This was possible as we were called in time even before ONGC teams could respond. The One at Navagam had a jeep fire engine working at the site but could not extinguish, it was only after we took over the fire fighting operation the fire could be extinguished. These fires were extinguished in a very short time so over heating of the various other parts of the well covered with Christmas tree were damaged so were not brought into lime light and this was years back so there no provision of disaster mgt. Teams etc.

Q4. What is the area that comes under you, is it only Ahmedabad or the surrounding areas & districts incase of major fire which you also cater too?

With Ahmedabad fire services has been giving services to almost 100 & 150 kilometers around Ahmedabad  & Gujarat state disaster management authority & Gujarat state relief commission has it ranks in place.

It is not curtailed to Ahmedabad, but our vehicles in almost 3 to 4 days a week is going for river canal rescue, fire fighting in surrounding areas also, apart from this our teams have also been to Rajasthan floods once to Bihar Floods, Karnataka floods we are also kept ready for earthquakes that happened in Kashmir we were in readiness to move so there is no limit now a days with all the communication system that has been set in place. Now that the NDRF is formed we may not be required to move out but we are always in ready preparedness all the time.

Q5. You have recently attended the NBC conference in Bangalore on 15th where you put forth some of your points has these been in force or its yet taking some time to give a final draft to be considered?

The NBS is being renovated it is being reviewed, but all these points is being crafted & implemented in the new NBC.

To name a few 100 bars, High pressure Fire fighting sprinkle system, positive pressure, low lying building High rise buildings, Basement.

Q6. As you have mention Basement 2, 3 times in the NBC why have you only focused on Basement

There are basically 2 things if you go for buildings above the grounds so above 5thstorey you find better wind velocity which fends the fire & so high rise fire fighting is very important

Other way round is basement fire where you have smoke accumulation flammable vapors accumulation which may result in to flames no ventilation if there is a fire & no ventilation which results into heat, see one car fully burning would some point evolving at 800 degrees Celsius with the fuel, foam, paint & tiers

Building structure say columns or a beam would be of any grade class 1 to 4 construction it would able to withstand or be stable at 650 degree Celsius & what about the 150 degrees more being evolved & to keep this under control you need some sprinklers o not keep fire under control but keep temperature under control along with this if u have positive pressure ventilation this save u about 66% 70% electricity as compare to smoke extraction prevent formation of flammable mixtures again helps firemen to enter such basements where positive pressure ventilation is done coz all smoke will be pushed out coz of the fresh air coming in, if we are talking of fanning the fire if I enter a basement which is smoke filled where I cannot see the flame then the question arises of how do I extinguished, then I got to have Breathing apparatus, protective clothing, thermal imaging cameras, how many Fie services can afford these cameras in a big way so it has to be on a first turn out unit, against that if you have positive pressure ventilation by the time the fire services say 3, 4, 5, 7 minutes it reaches the site by the time the smoke has been diluted or has been removed.

Q7. As you said cost concern that how many firefighting services can afford such thermal imaging cameras, u always have a point when u c a private firm to follow or a industry to follow every best possible way to prevent the fire that all the equipment should be kept in place the thing is u expect that they should not take anything for granted that they should best equipment in place best services in place but when it comes to the government department the most responsible & sincere department facing this lack of funding problem?

The reason for this is that there is lack of technicality at the top level, hope so they realize what fire services face as I have no financial powers for sanctions etc, I have to go through various stages starting from a deputy commissioner, commissioner, are going to the standing committee,  going for the budget. Actually it has to be short designed it lay a plan specify what you want then point a finger that this equipment which is this specification which Is useful set a commitment to it so that no single person would be responsible to it & then you can go for the best equipment available so this would cut down your time for tendering.

Q8. How do you face you man & machine problem?

Recently we have some employment done of fire men, it again the top bosses who have to intervene this process of how may people to keep, we have already submitted a plan of how many drivers to keep, how many vehicles to keep, how may Firemen, how many leading firemen, how many kinds of different level officers we require, these post are sanctioned but the induction is not sanctioned 

The municipal services is responsible for this even the state authorities, they should at least intervene & have a positive attitude towards this service.

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