New fire ladder will reach higher floors

Bangalore City State Top Story

Bengaluru to be the second city in the country, after Mumbai, to have a 90-meter Aerial Ladder Platform.

A 90-meter Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) is set to arrive next week in Bengaluru. The ladder of this ALP will extend up to 90 meters or 198 feet. This will help firefighters rescue people stuck in the top floors of a high-rise building. This truck will have the tallest ladder in the state of Karnataka. Until now, Mumbai is the only city which owns a 90-meter ALP.

“Aerial Ladder Platform, which has a ladder of 90 meters, was recently launched by the Home Minister,” said Ravikumar D, District Fire Officer (DFO). He added that, the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services (KSFES), in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, are in charge of getting this fire truck to Bengaluru. The ALP was manufactured in Finland and was shipped to the Mumbai shipyard. It was inaugurated on Sept. 12 in the shipyard. The truck is being transported to Bengaluru from Mumbai by road, in an 18-wheeler truck. The 18-wheeler, along with the ALP truck it is carrying, weighs around 45,000 kgs in total. It is expected to arrive in the first week of October and costs around Rs. 25 crores.

The 90-meter ALP was inaugurated on Sept. 12 at the Mumbai shipyard

ALPs are used to fight fires and rescue people in high-rise buildings. They are useful in fighting fires in the top floors, which can be hard to access from the ground floor. The fire fighters can reach the top floors by using the ladder that is mounted on top of the truck.  This ALP was expected to arrive by the end of 2020, when the expected cost of the vehicle was around Rs. 20 crores. Sunil Agarwal, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Fire and Emergency Services, was quoted in an article saying that the ALP can work on fuel, electricity and batteries, and it will also have a collapsing ladder. He added that it will be able to pump water up till 90 meters.

Mr. Ravikumar said that currently, the tallest ladder that the city has is 54 meters long. The fire department has two 54-meter ALPs and two 34-meter ALPs. The 54-meter ALPs can reach up to 20 floors and the 90-meter one can reach up to 60 floors.

The DFO said that there are around 20,000 high-rise buildings in the city. And that the ALP is necessary as they have faced problems with rescuing people from the top floors in the past and this ALP might be the solution they need. The National Building Code states that to be considered a high-rise, the building has to be 15 meters or above in height. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat states that the tallest building in Bengaluru is Mantri Pinnacle (153m).

Harsha Nadagoudar, an urban planner and the director of Hybrid Urbanists Pvt. Ltd., said that this truck would be a good addition to the fire department. The taller the building is, the harder it gets to pump water to the top floors. So, having a fire truck capable of reaching the top floors is certainly beneficial. He added that it is not only the fire department’s responsibility to ensure fire safety in buildings, the builders also have to make sure that all the safety guidelines are being followed. And that the residents also need to receive basic training on what to do in case of a fire, as they need to stay safe until the fire department gets there.

Bengaluru has 17 fire stations and four fire squads. It has not been decided which station will get the 90-meter ALP. The date of arrival of the fire truck in Bengaluru is also not yet confirmed. The fire fighters at Jayanagara Fire Station say that they are looking forward to the arrival of the ALP.

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