The state Fire and Emergency Services Department has introduced fireballs to combat small fires in households, shops, godowns or other closed premises. A total of 2,000 such fire balls weighing around 700gm each have been brought from Muscat. The balls are said to be useful to tackle fires taking place in closed premises and places where accessibility is difficult. Comprising aluminium and potassium sulphate, the balls explode when placed at the site of the fire, cutting off the supply of oxygen.

“The fire balls are very effective for fires taking place in closed premises like godowns and shops,” said Mr Sujit Bose, state minister for Fire and Emergency Services Department. “In open air it takes some time to work but in closed spaces it works faster. The fireballs have been introduced today but it has to undergo further tests and trials. Initially we have procured 2,000 such balls which will be kept at various fire stations and stalls set up for Durga Puja. Even the general public will be able to use the fireballs as a fire fighting equipment in place of fire extinguishers which need to be charged,” he added.

The cost of 2,000 fireballs is around rupees 22 lakhs, according to Mr Jag Mohan, director general of the department. The department is also planning to introduce robots and drones in its fire fighting system. “For drones and robots, an international tender has been floated by the department,” underscored Mr Bose. “For the ladders of 102 metres height, the tender is yet to be floated,” he said. Notably, 53 fire tenders of various capacities were added to the existing fleet of the fire department in the month of July. The 53 tenders introduced included three water tenders with capacity of 8,000 litres, foam tenders of 4000 litres capacity, 20 water tenders of 14,000 litre capacity and with high and low pressure water browser along with two high pressure hose reel.

Discharge monitors of 3,000 litres, 30 mid-size water tenders of 2,500 litre coupled with high pressure pump capable of penetrating in narrow lanes and by lanes, were also added to the system. The fire department, as a preparatory measure during Durga Puja, will install 18 stalls in and other parts of the state. It will also set up temporary fire stations in North and South Kolkata, North 24- Parganas, South-24 Parganas, Howrah and East Midnapore.