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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Delhi Fire Services Dept - reports are available Online.. Kudos !!

They are called when things go out of hand… and when people panic….. their motto reads - "We Serve to Save". Their tollfree no. in India is “101”…….. and on call they  endeavour to promptly reach  the spot of fire or other accidents, and strive to save life and property.  It is the  Fire and Rescue Services Directorate who play a vital role in the area of fire fighting and fire prevention.  Properties worth crores of rupees are saved each year from the ravages of fire and scores of people get rescued from fires. Apart from fire fighting, this department also undertakes rescue activities  saving people caught in the debris, marooned in floods, animals and birds getting struck on trees, high rise buildings and even on vehicles. 

Besides fire fighting and rescue operations, the Fire Service has statutory, regulatory and advisory functions also.   Advisory functions relate to educating society on fire protection measures and helping to implement them.   The statutory function is that of inspecting various premises to ensure that they conform to regulations in various Acts and Rules for fire safety.

Read from their website that Delhi Fire Service came into existence in the year 1942 after amalgamation of 2 fire stations, which were separately functioning under the control of Delhi Municipal Committee and New Delhi Municipal Committee. After the World War-II, the establishment of Delhi Fire Service was approved as a provincial force. At that time, Delhi Fire Service had in all 4 fire stations with 14 appliances and total staff numbering to 186 only.

In Chennai their presence is felt on very many occasions. Besides their regular offices, they have outposts too. In order to prevent and deal with fire accidents in inaccessible slums in Chennai City, outposts are opened in such slums. These outposts are provided with high capacity Synthetic tanks to hold enough water and portable fire pumps with hoses and wireless sets and they are manned round the clock.

At Chennai, in the year 2012 alone there reportedly were 32273 of which 228 were serious fire accidents and 629 medium ones according to their classification.

The primary ‘Standard Fire & Special Perils Policy’ offers protection to property and as the nomenclature suggests the perils covered start with ‘Fire’ Insurers define the peril ‘fire’ as :

Fire :       Excluding destruction or damage caused to the property insured by
a)      ( I ) its own fermentation natural heating or spontaneous combustion
(ii)      its undergoing any heating or drying process

b)      burning of property insured by order of any Public Authority

Now for getting indemnity under a Policy, establishment of the nature, extent and cause of loss are important. Documents substantiating the cause and extent of loss would be required to be submitted to the Insurer.  There will be assessment / analysis in to the occurrence by independent Surveyors.

One of the most important documents in respect of a Fire claim is the ‘Fire Brigade Report’ which primarily is a confirmation that the loss was intimated to the Fire Department and that the fire tenders attended to the loss.  Important details such as the time and date of loss; who intimated the Fire Dept., how many hours it took to extinguish fire; the probable cause and such details would be available in the Fire Brigade report

In large fire claims, the Insurers would insist on submission of this report. Often, the claimants would state various reasons in being not in a position to submit this important requirement.  They would say that it is too cumbersome to obtain; they need to spend some money,  Sometimes, they would require the Insurers to write to the Fire Dept. officials seeking the Fire Brigade report.

All these could be a thing of the past ~ as the Delhi Fire Department has made available – its report online- that too free. On their home page,
they have given a link : View Fire Report which leads to the next page wherein one can enter some specified parameters and get the report or simply select the Jurisdiction and get to see all the reports.

Surely a great initiative by a Govt Dept and they can take lot of credit in making this On line and making it so easily accessible. Kudos to Delhi Fire Services ……… this facility does not appear to be available in Chennai though…

For Insurers the distance of the insured property from the nearest Fire Brigade office gives lot of insight in to the risk or precisely loss prevention; they would also seek details on whether there is any railway level crossing in between and the frequency of trains over there.

Once had accompanied a Risk Engineer who was busy filling up the template of his report………. He queries the Insured’s representative

RE [Risk Engineer] : How far is the Fire Station from here
Insured Re’ [IR] : around 3 km sir
RE: (a bit surprised upon comparing it with earlier report) – how can it be ? – a couple of years ago… it was stated to be 7 km
IR : now that we have an overbridge in between….. factual or well thought- of, I don’t know but pat came the answer

Unfortunate that there exists a notion that Govt Dept don’t leverage technology and generally do not part with information….  Here is a report downloaded from the website of Delhi Fire Station.  Only the disclaimer makes a peculiar reading : 

Disclaimer: This is a computer generated report. Neither department nor its associates, information providers or content providers warrant or guarantee the timeliness, sequence, accuracy or completeness of this information.

Here is a report taken online - some contents hidden by me later..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th May 2013.


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