Red Alert: Functions of the Mumbai Fire Force

Published at 07:00:00 AM on April 14, 2022

What happens if I dial 101? Take a look at the Mumbai fire brigade and their amazing fire trucks whose sole purpose is to save lives.

This vehicle comes with its own soundtrack. Some vintage people remember it as the metal sound of a brass bell and are now being replaced by electronic sirens. Fire trucks carry hope, help, and peace of mind, as well as firefighters and their equipment. Kurt Vonnegut, an American writer, correctly states that “there is no symbol that stimulates humanity as much as a fire engine.”

I often see this red giant truck passing through traffic. But what’s really happening with this vehicle? What happens if I dial 101? For more information, I went to the headquarters of the Mumbai Fire Brigade in Byculla.

When the call comes in, the firefighter scrambles to the truck within 60 seconds and is on the way. 60 seconds from the first call to the truck leaving the fire station. Men and vehicles are always on the alert and need to be prepared for immediate movement. Every fire engine has a team of 7 people. Firefighters lead the team with top-notch firefighters, who have four firefighters. The truck driver is also the operator of the various equipment in the truck. Note that “firefighter” here refers to both men and women since the first female firefighter joined the Mumbai fire brigade in 2012.

These lights at the fire department indicate the vehicle needed to respond to an emergency.

One of the leading Mumbai fire brigades in the country has shown the metier many times. During the 2008 Mumbai attack, they tackled a fire and faced radical bullets to rescue hotel guests. The equipment they had was old and outdated. Even the unique uniforms they wore were reminiscent of the London Fire Brigade uniforms of the 1950s and offered limited protection. The Mumbai Fire Brigade is modeled after the London Fire Brigade. As a result, Mumbai firefighters are the only ones in the country to wear blue, rather than the khaki color used by most other firefighters across the country. In 2010, city firefighters were given a head-to-toe suit that meets international standards, a helmet with a protective visor, a built-in radio, a breathing device, and a neck shield. Feather helmets, rubber boots, leather belts and brass buckles are finally in history.

Reference: Firefighting Week 2022 Special Video

After years of running around with old and outdated equipment, the unit now boasts some of the latest and most advanced equipment in its fleet. However, the greatest impetus for modernization began earlier this year with the Mumbai fire brigade investing in important new equipment and vehicles.

What is commonly referred to as a fire engine is the first call or answer vehicle that is dispatched after the control room receives the call. In firefighter terminology, it is called a motor pump. This is a truck in all fire departments in Mumbai and is used for all kinds of calls, from fires to building collapses to bird rescue. Previously, the backbone of the fleet came from Tata, but this year it has been strengthened with the introduction of 16 MAN trucks.

The MAN CLA 16.300 is powered by a 6.9-liter in-line 6-cylinder direct-injection diesel engine with a turbocharger and intercooler. The engine produces 300hp at 2,000rpm and has a maximum torque of 1,150Nm at 1,200-1,800rpm. Power is transmitted via a 6-speed automatic allison gearbox. Think of it as a fire engine in every industry. Carry 4,500 liters of water apart from various equipment such as ladders, hoses, hose fittings, hand tools, hydraulic rescue tools (cutters, spreaders, rams, power pump packs), pneumatic lifting bags, heat sensing cameras, breathing devices, etc. increase. With 4 suit sets.

In case of a larger fire, a jump button car or water tanker will be called. Tanker cars can carry 14,000 to 18,000 liters of water, and the ones used by the fire brigade are made by Mercedes-Benz and MAN. The water tanker is a small Tata truck with a capacity of 9,000 liters.

Made by Mercedes-Benz, this Mumbai fire brigade tanker can carry up to 18,000 liters of water.

Another special vehicle that is part of the Mumbai Fire Brigade’s fleet is the rescue van built on the MAN TGM 18.3304X4 chassis. The 330hp engine is connected to the ZFAMT transmission. The truck’s seven lockers are equipped with more than 200 special equipment.

Mumbai is growing and growing vertically. The city skyline is dotted with skyscrapers and skyscrapers. As Megapolis grows, it needs to be able to reach higher floors. For this reason, the brigade has a fleet of ladder trucks. All those big dads are huge, 16.5 meters long, 4.15 meters high and 2.55 meters wide, and weigh over 50 tons. The vehicle is a Mercedes-Benz Actros 6260 with a 90-meter hydraulic platform manufactured by the Finnish-based company Bronto Skylift. This was India’s first 90-meter fire ladder and was pushed into government fire and rescue organizations.

This Mercedes is equipped with a 600hp OM series V8 engine and a Telligent automatic manual transmission. The truck has 6 axes, of which 1 axis, 2 axes, 3 axes and 6 axes are steerable, and 4 axes and 5 axes are powered. Known as a hydraulic platform, this special purpose vehicle can reach the height of the 30th floor of a skyscraper. The fire extinguishing pump built into the vehicle is driven by a power take-off (PTO) shaft from the engine and has a maximum capacity of 6,000 liters per minute at a pressure of 10 bar. In the event of a PTO failure, the ladder can be operated with a small standby diesel engine drive pump. If both the engine and the pump fail, the ladder can be operated using the vehicle’s battery. And I thought that only modern airliners had redundancy built into the system.

The vehicle has four computers that interact through the CAN bus system, programmed in height, angle, and all movements. The vehicle has two controls. One is turntable control and the other is cage control. A platform that can carry loads of up to 500 kg.

Another special vehicle you may see at the scene of a large fire is a breathing device vehicle. Team casualties are rarely caused by a fire. Most die of suffocation. Therefore, when a firefighter enters a burning building, he has a cylinder of breathable air on his back. Each self-contained cylinder lasts about 45 minutes. This is where the respiratory vehicle comes into play. The vehicle is equipped with an air compressor that can fill a depleted cylinder in 5 minutes, allowing firefighters to work uninterrupted.

The Mercedes-Benz Actros 6260, the giant of all ladder trucks, is 16.5 meters long and weighs 52 tons.

When looking at these brave firefighters on a red truck, it’s hard not to think that their job is a matter of life and death. You are right, but not always. On December 2, 2013, the fire brigade called on Masjid Bander to rescue a crow entwined in a kite string. It was another routine call of firefighters often called to rescue trapped birds and animals, logging trees, and oil spills. Umesh Parvate, a 31-year-old firefighter, climbed the roof of the warehouse to reach the bird, but the roof collapsed and he hit his head against an iron beam and collapsed. Parvate died in the hospital a few days later. In testimony of the Mumbai fire brigade’s firefighters’ commitment, when Parbate was taken to the hospital, Parbate’s colleagues scaled the roof to save the crows. This brings us fiery questions. The Mumbai Fire Brigade receives requests for rescue of about 10,000 birds each year. There are about 27 calls every day. This does not include the removal of fallen trees or oil spills. Can you afford to continue to develop this power?

One of the most important parts of the emergency response team is preparation. All vehicles are ready and need to be ready for immediate movement. The track should start with the first twist of the ignition. When the switch is turned on, the pump should work. There is no excuse when life is at stake. That’s why the Mumbai Fire Brigade runs its own repair and maintenance workshops with highly trained engineers and technicians.

Today, the Mumbai fire brigade may be equipped with the best equipment, and firefighters may have trained hard until jumping into danger becomes a reflexive behavior, but one thing-by public indifference. I’m defeated. The next time you hear the sirens ring and see the red truck approaching, salute as needed, but more importantly, give way. You may miss an important promise, but you can play your role in saving some lives.


The history of the Mumbai Fire Brigade can be traced back to 1887, 1855, or 1777. This depends on how you look at it. In 1777, the need for systematic protection against fire was recognized and a group was formed. In 1855, the Bombay Fire Brigade was established as a part-time police function, and regular fire-fighting with carriage fire trucks began under the control of the Chief of Police. Bombay has grown exponentially and, along with it, has a need for better fire service. On April 1, 1887, the Bombay Fire Brigade was the responsibility of the municipality and is still the case today.


The Mumbai Fire Brigade is the only brigade that has its own flag. Another brigade emblem was approved, adopted in 1975, and presented in 1980 with a color handed over to the Governor of Maharashtra. The star is a symbol of firefighting and is also part of the London Fire Brigade emblem. brigade. At the heart of the emblem, the parent organization of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, is the coat of arms of the Greater Bombay Municipal Enterprise. At the base of the emblem are three words: Shouryam (Valour), Atmasanyamanam (Abnegation), and Tyagah (Sacrifice). These three objectives are always endorsed and encouraged by the brigade and its personnel.

Retired warrior

Today’s fire trucks are far from the first fire trucks that entered the disaster zone. When you step into the Byculla Fire Department, one of the first things you’ll see is a vintage Leyland fire truck that has recently been restored to near perfection. Manufactured in 1936 and procured by the Bombay Fire Brigade in 1937. Powered by a 6-cylinder Rolls-Royce petrol engine, the 9.5-meter-long, 2.5-meter-wide wooden body truck weighs 19.5 tonnes. Equipped with a ladder made in Germany, it can be extended up to 37 meters. This truck was part of a rescue operation during the 1944 catastrophic Bombay Dock explosion. At that time, the cargo ship SS Fort Stikine ignited and exploded, killing more than 1,000 people and destroying several ships. More than 60 firefighters have died in tragedy, and the fire department monument stands as a reminder of their sacrifice. To commemorate the incident, April 14th is designated as National Firefighter’s Day.

Input from Joy Chaudhuri, Akbar Merchant

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