Sunday, September 13, 2009

When there’s fire at BIA, run, run, run

When there’s fire at BIA, run, run, run

September 13th, 2009
By Our Correspondent



Bengaluru
Sept. 12: Forty five minutes. That’s how long it took fire fighters to reach the Bengaluru International Airport after it declared an emergency due to a ‘medium intensity’ fire on the runway on Saturday.
Relax. It was only a drill to evaluate the Airport Emergency Plan. But don’t relax. Because it showed that current arrangements for emergency response are dangerously inadequate. The fire tenders could not reach the airport earlier because they had to come all the way from Hebbal, 33 km away.
Although the airport is equipped with crash fire tenders, specifically built for airport operations, these cannot be used to fight building fires nor will they be of much use if a plane crash occurs outside the periphery of the airport.
Following the drill, fire and emergency services officials have decided to seek land for two fire stations close by — one at Yelahanka and the other at the airport itself. The government had granted land near the trumpet loop on the flyover leading to the airport, but legal hurdles have stalled the plan until now.

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