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Lockdown: Fire Service registers drop in calls in March

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi Fire Service received 34 per cent less calls after March 15 this year in the wake of restrictions imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, an official said.
The fire department usually receives close to 60-70 calls on an average daily during this month and the number of calls increases as summer approaches.
However, since the lockdown, the calls have reduced significantly, they said.
"There has been no major incident of fire reported in the last 15 days ever since the announcement of lockdown. We have seen a significant decline in calls too. This is also because factories are shut owing to restrictions," said Atul Garg, Director, Delhi Fire Service.
Nationwide restrictions were imposed on the movement of people for 21 days on March 24 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
However, the fire department has provided masks, gloves and sanitisers to its personnel to protect them against the virus.
"We don't have public dealing unless it is a case of building collapse or so. The fire personnel go to the spot, douse off the fire and return without having to come in contact with public unless someone is trapped. In such cases, after the rescue operation is completed, we also sanitise fire tenders as a precautionary measure," a senior fire official said.
According to data shared by the Delhi Fire Service, between 15-29 March, the fire department received 1,176 calls last year. However, this year during the same period, the department received only 776 calls.
"Since the factories are shut due to restrictions, we hardly get any fire-related calls from there. Besides this, non-availability of cigarettes have also helped bring down fire incidents. Usually, we see people smoke and randomly dispose cigarettes in garbage or somewhere else which then sparks a fire. People are mostly indoors now and are hardly seen on roads, so they stay cautions since family members are home 24x7," the official said.
For instance, On Sunday night, a fire broke out at a furniture shop in Shaheen Bagh and five fire tenders were pressed into service.
The fire was brought under control and no injury was reported.
On March 25 last year, the department received 68 calls but this year on the same day, it handled 36 calls.
On March 28 last year, the department handled 83 calls but this year, it received almost half the number of calls, according to the data.
A fire personnel deployed at the control room said, "We have been receiving less calls than usual. Since factories are shut, there are hardly calls regarding short-circuit or any kind of leakage leading to fire. We sanitise ourselves before going to the spot and repeat the process after completing our task. We also practice social distancing as a precautionary measure".

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First Published: Mar 31 2020 | 1:28 PM IST

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