MCI to improve emergency, disaster management

  • Fire substations will be stashed at I-9/4, I-14 and Humak

In order to improve the performance of the Emergency and Disaster Management of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), new machinery of worth Rs 1000 million is being purchased while PC-1 for establishing three fire substations at I-9/4, I-14 and Humak has also been approved.

However, the rampant increase in wild forest fires at Margalla and the potential threat posed by high-rise buildings put serious questions on the capacity of city manager’s ability to quell fire emergencies. Rampant urbanisation, the rise in the value of real estate and migration of masses from villages to cities has given birth to the excessive construction of houses, markets, high rise buildings and other brick-and-mortar structures in the capital.

The bylaws require every building, commercial or residential, to acquire a completion certificate before it can be occupied. The high-rise buildings including Centaurus, Safa Mall, Ufone Tower and the Islamabad Stock Exchange among others are yet to acquire completion certificate. These buildings not only are fully operational but never undergone necessary inspection and fire and security audit by the Emergency & Disaster Management Directorate.

The Metropolitan Corporation plans to strengthen Emergency and Disaster Management Directorate bring it at par with international standards, it plans to initiate special arrangements for training of rescue workers and firefighters to enhance their professional capabilities, Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz announced while addressing a ceremony organised here at the Fire Headquarters in connection with the International Firefighter Day.

On this occasion, MCI’s Chief Officer Syed Najaf Iqbal, E&DM Director Zafar Iqbal, elected representatives, officers and officials of different formations, representatives of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) and firefighters were also present. After years of neglect, the Directorate of Emergency and Disaster Management is equipped with latest fire devices and well-trained staff.

The E&DM Directorate in the hour of need has already proved its professional abilities during several untoward incidents in the past. The directorate is all set to undertake a survey for fire safety measures in different buildings of Islamabad and awareness campaigns among residents regarding safety measures in case of fire eruption.

On this occasion, Emergency and Disaster Management Director Zafar Iqbal informed the audience that the directorate was one of the foremost department of Asia, which has well-trained firefighters and rescue workers. Apart from this, the directorate also consists of 34 latest firefighting vehicles, firefighting devices and sniffer dogs, which detect the human bodies under the rubbles during the accidents.

The directorate has a fleet of 34 fire tenders, two snorkels of 68 meters, two Bronto Sky Lifts of 29 meters and 46-metre aerial ladder. The firefighting fleet of CDA has already demonstrated its professional role in extinguish a fire in Islamabad and other areas. Firefighters and rescue workers demonstrated their professional abilities during the mock drill.

Mayor Anser Aziz appreciated the professional skills of the firefighters and the rescue workers and distributed certificates among the participants. At the end, flag march of firefighting vehicles was also organised which was led by the mayor. The flag march was started from the Fire Headquarters and after passing through different areas concluded again at the same place.