Kochi: While the Kerala Fire and Rescue services department played a pivotal role in rescue missions during the devastating floods in August, an internal post flood analysis report submitted before the state government calls for setting up of a special task force to deal with natural calamities and similar serious emergencies.
“The main aim of the report was to devise ways to make the department capable of conducting effective rescue missions in the event of a natural disaster similar to the recent floods. said R. Prasad, director (technical). “The report, which mainly deals with five such strengthening measures, has been submitted to the Planning Commission for fund allocation and implementation, subject to approval of the government.”
The main suggestion is the formation of a 100-member strong Special Task Force (STF) which would perform dangerous rescue missions and commando operations in the event of a major natural or man-made disaster.
“The STF personnel should be given high intensity training and handed with modern equipment,” the report said. The study also called for setting up of an institute for advanced training in water rescue.
“The recent floods proved the personnel should be adequately trained in risky rescue operations in water. The state witnesses 1600 drowning deaths a year on an average. The current Scuba Rescue Training Centre functioning at Fort Kochi should be elevated for the purpose,” the study pointed out.
Realising that the public have a vital role to play in the event of emergencies, as proved by fishermen community during floods, the report recommended strengthening of the Community Rescue Volunteer Service scheme. Under it, volunteers from various communities like fishermen, tribal youths and construction workers among others should be given periodic training in rescue missions.
The study pointed out the need for strengthening the district level offices of the Fire Force by entrusting a higher level official to be in charge. “It facilitates effective decision making. Currently the rank of district fire officer is same as that of motor vehicle inspector or the police circle inspector,” it said.
The report also advocates setting up of three additional fire stations in Wayanad district, where rescue missions suffered initially after several areas got isolated during the recent floods....