At least 10 firefighters have been killed and 19 injured in firefighting operations across the country from 2011 to 2016.
Directorate of Fire Service and Civil Defence Director General Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan made the above statement at a discussion on Thursday morning, which was held to mark International Firefighters’ Day.
With “Prevention is better than extinguishing fire” as the theme, different programmes were organised nationwide, with the discussion as the primary event at the Fire Service and Civil Defence Training Centre in Mirpur-10 of Dhaka.
Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan said: “Firefighters are always prepared to face any incident, accident or disaster, and their capabilities develop daily.”
“Firefighters try to save other people’s lives and valuables, risking their own. We have some limitations but are in talks with the government to overcome them,” he said.
“The fire brigade needs reforms as firefighters now face more challenges than in the past. Firefighters have to build up stronger mentalities and more physical strength than the armed forces. Fire brigades also take part in anti-militant operations with law enforcement agencies,” he added.
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In this file photo taken on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, firefighters try to bring a fire at a gas lighter factory in Ashulia's Jirabo area under control Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Home Ministry Additional Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakrabarty said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already announced a fire station would be set up in every upazila in the country. Implementing this step would lessen the limitations of our fire services.”
Directorate of Fire Service and Civil Defence’s Director (Planning, Training and Development) Lt Colonel Mohammad Mosarraf Hussain presided over the discussion.
He said: “We lack manpower in 320 fire stations nationwide. We have to run these 320 stations with the manpower of 220 stations.”
Home Ministry Joint Secretaries Abu Noor Mohammad Bazlur Rahman and Ataul Haque, Fire Service and Civil Defence’s Director (Finance and Administration) Harunujjaman, UNDP Country Director Khorshed Alam, International Labour Organization’s fire expert Morris Brux, among others, spoke at the discussion.
International Firefighters Day has been observed every May 4 since it was founded in 2002 in remembrance of five firefighters who died that day in 1998 under tragic circumstances in a bushfire in Australia.