This is certainly not funny.
Pune may be considered very liveable and smart, yet, the situation on the ground with respect to the city’s preparedness is abysmal to say the least..
Yes, Pune’s essential services (Police, Fire Department and Ambulance Services) have the commitment, the drive and the skills to manage any eventuality. However, it is critical that they are given the necessary resources to allow for peak performance levels.
Pune has expanded geographically over the years but staff strength in these essential services have just not kept pace from what is apparent…
Pune has only 496 trained firemen as opposed to a 1000 strong force required to handle a population of close to 4 million people. Ambulance services are also short of ideal numbers and struggling to meet the demands on a day-to-day basis.
According to PMC’s Health Department officials who spoke to Pune365, PMC currently has only 11 operative ambulances. PMC officials did not however share the number of calls they receive daily.
Calls are also received at the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), helpline 108, a toll-free number initiated by the state public health department to provide emergency medical services across the state. For the record, Pune365 did try connecting to the toll-free number but were unable to connect.
According to reports, MEMS has 937 ambulances, run under the Bharat Vikas Group, of which 233 are advanced life support ones with specialised cardiac facilities.
Speaking to us on the need to increase manpower in the city, Chief Fire Officer of PMC, Prashant Ranpise said, “Five to six calls are received every day and among the 13-fire stations in PMC, we have only 76 fire tenders (regular, jeep mounted, hydraulic) that are sent to the locations.
The number of fire tenders, fire vehicles and fire stations are also insufficient. Apart from this, there is also a shortage of manpower also with only 496 firemen in our force.
“For the past ten years, I have been trying to increase the number of fire stations and firemen in the city, but due to several government resolutions and guidelines, the recruitment rules are formed but the requirements are not sanctioned.
This is why we are lagging behind with respect to being totally equipped. The last recruitment was done sometime in 2009, where only 10-12 personnel were recruited.
Apart with this, we only have a handful of rescue vans that accompany the fire tenders depending on the intensity of the accident.
“In this regard, we have been speaking to the commissioner as well, but as of now, the situation on the ground is the same. We are currently in desperate need for additional manpower for our force.
“The entire proposal for this has been made, but due to the changes made in the recruitment rule in 2015 and the delay in sanctioning it, we aren’t able to employ more people,” adds Ranpise.
“You need to be lucky to get through to these toll free emergency numbers to get any help,” says Prakash Jadhav, a Kondhwa Budruk resident.
“If we do have a serious emergency situation in different parts of the city, we will definitely be short of ambulances and fire tenders required on the spot.
Probably they have been able to manage till now, because there are hospitals and private ambulance service providers giving their vehicles out on contract.. The authorities have to look into this matter at the earliest.
These services are the nerve system of the society and they should be enhanced and maintained on a priority basis,” Jadhav adds.
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