Fire hydrants to be placed in Male'

  • Fire related incidents are high in Male'
  • Male' does not have system to extinguish fires
  • Fire hydrant system will be placed during Majeedhee Magu reconstruction

It is a surprising thing that Male', capital city of the Maldives, does not have a modern fire control system during these modern times. It is not something that should concern us now, but should have been built a long time ago. The only time people talk about extinguishing a fire when the fire has been set and is burning. It is saddening to see that enough effort has not gone into providing proper resources for the MNDF Fire and Rescue Department, who are responsible for extinguishing the fires.

Maldives is a relatively small country in terms of size and population when compared with the rest of the world, but the incidents with fire that Maldives face are not any less. The difference between the rest of the world and the Maldives, specially in the crowded streets of Male', is that there is no efficient system to control a fire and stop it from spreading.

Records show that a huge amount is spent on controlling the damages caused due to a fire. But Fire and Rescue have faced huge setbacks in dealing with the major incidents that occurred in the Maldives. This means that they do not have the right resources to control these fires.

There is no way to get the water needed to extinguish a fire at the required pressure in Male'. This is something that has been made clear by the Coastline fire incident. And it takes a huge amount of time for the heavy vehicles of the Fire and Rescue department to respond due to the crowded streets of Male'. The next option is to draw a pipe towards the fastest route to the sea. This is not an easy task.

The most dangerous incidents that have occurred so far in the Maldives have taken place in the Capital Male'. A lot of time was spent on extinguishing every major fire in Male'.

Records show that the Fire and Rescue Department have received 72 different reports of fires in the Maldives. And while 53 reports of gas leaks were made, there were 132 reports of other fire related events.

"The reason for the increase in fire related incidents in Male' is because of its overpopulation, the buildings being built relatively close to one another, and handling flammable materials without proper caution. If enough water is not sprayed within a short period of time on a fire, it will spread to another building. Lately, a lot of incidents grow out of control and cause huge damages to peoples homes. This is due to not getting enough water to control the fire," the Colonel of the Fire and Rescue Department, Abdulla Zuhuree said. "The biggest setbacks faced in controlling fires are the crowded streets of Male' and not having a system to get water at the required pressure."

After research into finding a solution on how to control fires in crowded city's like Male, work has started on establishing fire hydrants within the City. This is a system that is used in countries all over the world. In case of a fire, pipes will be connected to the nearest hydrant and it will provide water at the required pressure. This will stop the need for connecting pipes to the sea or bringing in heavy vehicles into the area. This will increase the speed at which the fire is controlled and will stop it from spreading elsewhere.

"Establishing a fire hydrant system will provide great ease in controlling fires. This will greatly decrease the amount of fire incidents occurring in the Maldives," Zuhuree said.

The work to establish the fire hydrants is going along with the Housing Ministry's current project of improving the streets in Male'.

Zuhuree says that the project is divided into two phases. The first phase is burying the main pipelines of the hydrant system under Majeedhee Magu. The second phase is connecting these pipes to pumps and providing water to the hydrants. While 12 such systems are being built in the Maldives, there will be 150 meters between each system.

This project has been given to Maldives Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) and Maldives Road Development Corporation (MRDC). This project, which costs a total of MVR4.7 million, will be finished and in working condition by next year. This will provide a great ease in controlling fires.