Saturday, April 17

Kolkata: Robots and drones to help fight hard-to-access fires

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Robots and drones, which extinguished the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in France, may soon be seen fighting fire in Kolkata. The fire brigade is acquiring these gadgets to access places which the fire brigade personnel can’t reach due to extreme heat, excessive smoke or possibility of explosions.
Bengal Fire Brigade director general Jag Mohan, on Friday, said, “We have floated a tender and will be acquiring four robots and two drones to fight fires. These can be pressed into action at the most hazardous fires where the possibility of explosion is very high.” He was speaking on the sidelines of a symposium on electric fire safety in public buildings organized by International Copper Association in association with Power Cable Alliance (PCA) and Fire Security Association of India (FSAI).

On a number of occasions, firefighters failed to contain a blaze even after identifying the origin because of extreme heat, smoke and possibility of explosion. The robots, on the other hand, are fire-proof and can withstand explosions. Deploying them in such cases reduces the risk for fire brigade personnel. Moreover, these robots are designed to fight fire with efficiency, said an officer.

A fire safety department official said the remote-controlled robots, with the help of communication from drones equipped with thermal imaging flying over the fire, can assess the intensity of the blaze and assist crews. They can carry out critical tasks remotely by connecting to extinguishing systems in buildings and automatically moving to the source of fire to carry out the initial fire extinguishing process until the firefighters arrive. The gadgets can also be used to carry out awareness drives in malls.

The robot will be subject to a trial period of three months and then evaluated to determine its technical and operational efficiency, said an officer.

The DG fire service added that Puja committee members will be trained to adopt preventive measures and the department might choose a fire warden for each big committee.

“We must inculcate a culture of maintaining safety. If you can change your mobile phone every three years, why can’t you change the wiring in your building once in a decade?”


Source: Times of India

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