The Mumbai fire brigade (MFB) is planning to purchase two more firefighting robots for the city. The first robot was brought in 2018 at a cost of Rs 98 lakh.The total estimated cost of the new robots are Rs 3.05 crore. These robots will be of European standards with advanced technology.
The first robot from China was brought in 2015 in the annual drill of the MFB. It was first used during a massive fire that broke out in the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) building in Bandra in 2019.
Many times, firefighters have to go inside the structure, which can be life-threatening. The robot can send thermal images, which help firefighters plan the operation.
The robots can be stationed in the western and eastern suburbs. A senior official from the MFB said, “The earlier robo had a fixed battery with a working duration of just four hours. So it becomes difficult after the battery gets exhausted. The new robots will have swappable batteries that can be recharged easily and can last for eight hours.”
Hemant Parab, chief fire officer said, “The proposal is in the pipeline. It will take some time to procure the new robots”. Prabhat Rahandale, former chief fire officer said, “Every technology has its advantages as well as limitations. In the same way, firefighters also have limitations so the robot was brought with an intention to go inside the structure which can be life-threatening for fire- fighters”.
Another former fire chief, Pratap Karguppikar said, “Why does the fire brigade want robots for fire- fighting? Do they want to cut short the staff ? The robot can be used in the basement, I can understand, but now the basement in the highrises have all the mechanisms to safeguard it from fire which were notthere earlier. The robot also has many limitations.”