Metropolis to build firefighting training centre in 15 months

- ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Aug 14, 2018-

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) on Monday laid the foundation to build a two-storey firefighting training centre in Ramhiti Ward-6.

The fire-fighting training centre gives hope to reduce the vulnerability of Kathmandu’s wooden heritage sites and private houses made in traditional architectural style to fire.

Speaking at the event KMC Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya said he is committed to make Kathmandu a safe city. “I have learnt much from my critics. Citizens would see the transformation here,” he said.

The building costing Rs 76.2 million and spread over 3.5 ropanis would house three fire engines. The deadline to complete the building is 15 months.

Bolzano Bozen, the capital city of Italian province of South Tyrol has granted financial aid of 500,000 euros (Rs63.83 million). The KMC has announced to bear the remaining cost.

The Disaster Management Department (DMD) of the metropolis has designed the model of the building. The training centre will have a reserve water reservoir with 150,000 litres capacity, equipment, a hostel for trainees, and 200-seat seminar hall.

KMC Urban Development Department Engineer Prem Bahadur Shrestha said, “The new centre will train staff from Juddha Barun Yantra (JBY) as well as other firefighters. We plan to impart training on various rescue tasks during emergencies like the Gorkha earthquake.”

Established by Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher in 1937, the JBY is the oldest fire station in Kathmandu. Currently, it has has 34 personnel on its payrolls. It has a capacity to store 38,000 litres water. JBY Chief Badri Man Nagarkot said, “We shall impart training on aspects of firefighting to our staff as well as others on how to avoid fire related incidents and dousing fire.”

International standards stipulate one fire fighter for 2,000 people and one fire engine for 28,000 people. Kathmandu Valley has only nine functional fire engines for over five million people.

The New Road-based JBY, also known as CFB, has four fire engines and 34 firefighters. Lalitpur district has three fire engines and 11 firefighters and Bhaktapur has two fire engines, one water tanker and 22 firefighters.

Apart from inadequate fire engines, there are numerous problems regarding fire safety issues in the Valley.

Victims often blame fire brigade staff arriving late at blaze sites. Officials cite narrow alleys, shortage of water in the valley, and the increasing traffic congestion as the main problems.

JYB fire engine driver for the last 20 years Rajendra Bahadur Shrestha said, traffic jams and narrow lanes make it difficult for us to reach sites quickly.

To resolve these issues, KMC has announced to open temporary fire brigade stations on the outskirts of Ring Road in Jadibuti, Sitapaila and Balkhu.

In this fiscal year 2017/18, the JYB has attended 175 fire emergency calls. “Many people are unaware of our emergency number (101). Only 25 percent people called us directly, remaining 75 percent called nearby police stations, and police also came to us through Metropolitan Police Office. This relaying of information causes delays, therefore we reach sites late,” said Nagarkoti.

Published: 14-08-2018 08:15

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