An Interface with Mr. Anil Mahajan Chief Fire Officer Nashik City Maharashtra

interview-new-339x1024Team Kings visited Head Quarter of Nashik Fire Service and it was the great pleasure to interact with the C.F.O. Mr. Anil Mahajan, the youngest appointed and the longest serving CFO in the history of Indian Fire Service with N K Gupta (Chief Editor & CEO) along with Sub-Editors Mr. Stalin Pereira & Ms. Bharti Kulal. 

Mr. Mahajan draw out his valuable time from his very busy schedule towards upcoming “Kumbh Mela” in Nashik and shared his valuable views, experiences, achievements, planning of Public Safety Management during Kumbh, his future mission for Fire Safe and expected development in Indian Fire Service. We are really thankful for his Gesture & down to earth nature towards every small and big visitors at his office.

Q. Can you please introduce  in short about yourself and your achievements

In Short to start up with my  educational background, I have done B.Sc. with Chemistry as Principle subject from Pune University, Completed B.E. (Fire) from National Fire Service College, Nagpur University securing First class and stood among 5 toppers. My Professional Life began with joining State Bank of India Madras Local Office as Fire officer after which within 4 months I was appointed as Fire Superintendent (now known as CFO) at Nashik Municipal Corporation in October, 1986 at the age of 26, since then I am happily serving & continuing the journey. During my tenure I was posted at Fire Service College, Moreton in Marsh, UK under Colombo Plan of Government of India. It's being great to work for 28 long years & still continuing the magnificent journey.

About the achievements, will share few of my milestone achievements, I received the Fire Service Medal for Meritorious Service in 1997, then I was awarded Fire Service Medal for Gallantry in 2002, these both awards are awarded by Honorable President of India. Again it was great pleasure to collect the honor of President's Fire Service Medal for Gallantry in 2005. During these year, I had been the member of various State Govt. committees such as Technical Committee of Fire Service, Revive Committee for Fire Act and Similar other committees as well.

Q. Please share your views about the expected changes in the Indian Fire Service

It was my ambition to join the Disciplined Uniform Service from childhood as I was keen to contribute for Public Safety, During my experience it's the great pleasure to be the part of Fire Service as CFO of Nashik,  serving for public safety from so many years and still continuing with the vision of  safeguarding Life & Property.

In India Safety is the top most needed but it's sidelined by most, here many people are least bothered about it, Where as the importance of Safety in Foreign countries is prestigious and respectful profession because it's the  duty, right and responsibility of every citizen. In India there is the scope of development for Fire & Disaster Service if uniform cadre of Fire Service is created like IAS/IPS and Uniform Fire Act is introduced.

Q. As the Kumbh is approaching, what are the Safety Measures on your agenda for Public Safety during Emergency ?

According to Disaster Management Act, in any Disaster Plan there are three steps i.e. Preparation, Mitigation and Rehabilitation.  We have a concrete Disaster Management Plan ready for Kumbh which is drafted on paper as well as our staff & volunteers are well trained through our various mock drills.

We do have located the staging areas where critical courses like Fire Service, Ambulances, Plumbing Service etc will be present in a single to respond to the situation at the earliest, for this we have spotted 18 to 20 places all around where the emergencies respond staff along with latest equipments & gears will be in attendance so as to get the necessary help immediately to every victims quickly, our response time of responding will be maximum 3 minutes because the crowd will be too much and the place will be congested.

Everything is well planned; we have been planning this management preparation since last one & half year. YASHADA (Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration) had also helped us in this preparation, the experts from yashada had collected the drafted plan from every departments and had prepared the unique disaster management blueprint about how to deal with any kind of disaster during the event. The disaster management plan of Yashada includes risk assessment, narrates the prevention and mitigation actions, facilities needed for mitigation, response preparation and the response mechanism.

Q. What is the plan if there is a stampede during the Kumbh ?

In case of a stampede Police force have made their own plans, their team will be continuously controlling the crowd, there will be the volunteers at every spot to guide about the routes & exit gates, Its planned that there will be no stagnation of groups anywhere, crowd will be always moving  uni direction hence there is no chance of stamping, even if it happens we had planned administrative routes for quick response on the spot with medical facilities, Volunteers, Fire Service, Ambulances, Stretchers etc. to help the injured / casualities quickly. We have considered out every single thing to deal with possible disasters during the mammoth event.

Q. Could you please share with our readers about the Fire Safety Measures Categorised Zone-wise ?

In Maharashtra, cities are categorised as Type A, Type B, Type C, Type D & Metro cities. Pune & Nagpur are categorised as Type A cities where population is more than 25 lakhs where as Nashik, Thane, Pimpri & Chinchwad are type B cities, Mumbai is Metro city and other corporation cities are categorised as Type C or D according to population. Nashik has population of more than 18 lakhs hence categorised as Type B city.

As per the Maharashtra Fire Service Act, Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Rules; each occupancy in these cities are further classified according to their height, area & use, specific Fire Norms are defined accordingly which is mandatory to be followed by every occupant / owner.

Q. What you have to say about the Emergency Evacuation when Fire breakouts in Malls and High Rises ?

Escape routes plays the vital role in case of evacuation. In any Public buildings or any High-rises in case of emergency victims have to evacuate themselves or Fire Service Personnel evacuate them.

One way exit routes makes the task of rescue difficult hence there must be escape routes or alternative routes in every multi storey buildings.

In old building there are many limitations in Structural Stability & Structural Changes, Stability can be modified but structural changes is not possible to be modified, considering the very old construction we Fire Officer can't suggest for modification creating escape routes because this buildings quite old & the norms was different in those days as per the old Fire Safety Act of those days. It's very difficult to rescue peoples in such buildings where facilitation for the evacuation & rescue operation is not available.

Q. What are the latest Fire Safety Equipment Gears hired for Nashik Fire Service ?

Very Proudly I can acclaim that the number of Fire incidences are very few in Nashik because the people here are conscious about the Fire Safety, currently New high-rises are introducing in the city where we strictly follow the National Building Code & the Maharashtra Fire Safety Act and accordingly we are insisting people to keep 2 staircases, to install fire fighting equipments & even we encourage people here to undergo the training of evacuations & educate themselves to use the fire fighting installation. 

We are modernising our Fire Services in Nashik as per the height of the buildings, since till now there was permission for particular height building we had 32metres hydraulic platform. In the new Development Control (DC) rules and the Draft Development Plan (DP) of Nashik city, the height of the buildings will be allowed to match the length of the fire brigade ladders with the local fire service, for that we are purchasing the Hydraulic Platform of 70metre height & turn table ladder of 55metre height. Beside this we have Advance Emergency Rescue Kits for Flood Rescue & Flood Emergency as there are 3 rivers flowing through the city of Nashik & Flood situation can occur anytime. We do have various types of Rescue Equipments, Hydraulic Equipments as well as Rescue Chutes for evacuation of the people.

Q. What is the road ahead for the Nashik Fire Services ?

We are always in the pace of development in improving our services, in upcoming Draft Development Plan (DP) we have suggested for reservation of 13 new fire stations considering the area & population here and as soon as the new DP will be approved we will start acquisition of land & the process of construction of new fire station, for which we have the provision of Fire Prevention Fund which we are collecting from the builders while sanctioning the permission of High-Rises. These fund is only used for acquiring new Equipments & Machineries, Construction of Fire Stations and Improvement in the Fire Equipments, it's not utilised for any other Civilian work or any other purposes . Currently we are having 6 Fire Stations of which 5 are existing, 1 new will be starting within a fortnight, 1 will be constructed near Ambad soon and 12 new Fire Stations are scheduled in the due course of time.

Q. Please comment regards to the new hiring of staff, Is the young generation welcomed ?

We are hoping  the young talented & well qualified generation should come up in Fire Service, as  now Fire Service is not only about pouring water on fire & extinguish Fire but it's the sophisticated  & technical subject, at present even engineering students are welcomed for this job.  Considering all these aspects we at Nashik Municipal Corporation has opened up the recruitments for Diploma & Degree Holders in Fire Engineering for the post of Station Officers, even Regular Engineering candidates of Civil/ Mech/ Elect. etc, they have to undergo technical training of Fire Engineering will also be appointed for the post.

Finally, As per Mr. Mahajan if at least minimum guidance & training is provided to every citizen / civilian of every city and villagers, we can be 
REAL Fire Safe INDIA.  Fire Brigades & other civic authorities can take up the initiative towards Fire & Life Safety training to maximum possible citizens so they can behave in proper manner as First Responder to any emergency evacuation & rescue situations. Even principally if such training is given in school life, it will be more beneficial, Safety can be introduced as the subject for the coming generation; Elderly can be trained in various Safety programmes.