MUMBAI: For the first time, uniforms of Mumbai’s firefighters are set to undergo a major design change. In a proposal which it has forwarded to the municipal commissioner for approval, the fire brigade has said it plans to bring in `work uniforms’ which would replace the bulky Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during non-fire emergency calls.
A full-sleeved T-shirt will soon be the work uniform for the city’s 2,200 firemen and fire officials for drills, parades and all kinds of emergency calls like rescuing a bird or animal or while intervening in the case of drowning incidents. The PPE, therefore, would be required to be worn by the fire brigade only in case of fire emergency calls.
One of the major reasons for the change is the refusal of various firemen to wear the PPE, which is a three-layered uniform known to be extremely cumbersome. In fact, in 2015, 40 firemen were issued show-cause notices for not wearing the PPE during a fire in a 22-storeyed building in Chandivli in which seven persons died. The firemen had then claimed that the PPE was too uncomfortable to be worn during that fire.
According to the new design specifications, the Tshirts will be of different colours for firemen and fire officials. While fire officials will have a full-sleeved navy blue T-shirt, firemen will wear a grey full-sleeved T-shirt. Also, at the moment, yellow-coloured helmets are worn by firemen and fire officials as well. Now, it has been proposed to have green helmets for sub-officers, leading firemen, drivers, operators and firemen, whereas deputy fire officers, assistant divisional fire officers will continue to wear yellow and the chief fire officer will retain his red helmet more