Are Male' fire fighting systems upto standards?

  • - Several issues in the hydrant systems?
  • - Latest resources required for fire, emergency services
  • - Coast Line Hardware fire

The Coast Line Hardware fire, which occurred on April 18th, saw the complete decimation of the building. The large plume of smoke rising from the area had engulfed a greater part of Male’ City.

Teams from Maldives National Defense Force had attempted to control the fire, with limited success. This had led many to question on the ability of the Force in addressing emergency situations. Is it a lack of resources? Or is a deeper problem, one that involves the emergency systems in place in the country?

“[We] have to bring water from far. The hydrant systems in Male’ does not provide water at an acceptable pressure. We linked all hydronic systems, it did not work,” MNDF Colonel Abdullah Zuhuree reported to sun.mv.

The statements given by MNDF proves the hydrant system in the Male’ does not provide adequate water in times of emergency. Or the system is damaged. The water supply in Male’ is managed by MWSC. The company is yet to provide a statement on the fire.

This issue had been demonstrated before as well. The fire in Lily warehouse would have caused lesser damage, if MNDF had access to a functioning hydrant system.

To control a fire, the hydrant system in Male’ will have to supply water at seven bars. Currently the hydrant system releases water at three bars. Then the water supply has to be derived from the sea; distance between the sea and the fire scene plays a vital role in regulating pressure.

Avas has been able confirm that MNDF did not have firefighting foam, a resource that was later used by Airport Fire and Rescue in controlling the fire. The key question that must be asked is why trained fire fighters were not granted access to such resources.

“The fire fighters worked hard to control the fire. Given the resources they had, they worked hard,” an ex-fire fighter said.

Given the congestion levels in Male’, the city poses significant fire hazards. High rise buildings are constructed without fire escapes. Fire lorries cannot access most roads.

However, the city has access to many state of the art resources used in firefighting. One such asset is helicopters equipped with firefighting facilities. The helicopters, equipped with flexible Bambi Buckets can store large amounts of water and the water can be easily dumped from above.

Fires in Male’ can be easily controlled with preparation and precautionary measures.