Study re­veals woe­ful state of fire dept


More than half the city’s fire trucks are dam­aged due to a lack of money to prop­erly main­tain them, ac­cord­ing to the Bangkok City Coun­cil.

Its find­ings fol­low a re­cent study by the coun­cil — a lo­cal body of elected lo­cal coun­cil­lors re­spon­si­ble for pass­ing laws and bud­gets for the Bangkok Metropoli­tan Ad­min­is­tra­tion (BMA).

The study was launched late last year and the re­sults re­vealed at a coun­cil meet­ing yes­ter­day.

Of 874 fire trucks, only 88 were in good con­di­tion while 340 were only just us­able. An­other 232 were in a di­lap­i­dated con­di­tion but were in ser­vice out of ne­ces­sity, while 225 were per­ma­nently parked. The con­di­tions of fire­fight­ing boats were no bet­ter. Only three out of 31 ves­sels are still in good con­di­tion, while 21 were bro­ken and in per­ma­nent dock.

It was re­vealed the BMA’s fire res­cue di­vi­sion has not re­ceived a bud­get for the up­keep of fire trucks for al­most 10 years. The di­vi­sion was trans­ferred from the Royal Thai Po­lice to the BMA 15 years ago.

“Some fire trucks have been idle for 15 years due to no money to main­tain them. Fire-fight­ing suits were ragged and smelly as some have not been prop­erly cleaned for al­most two years,” said Som­boon Muangk­lam, city coun­cil­lor from Phasi Charoen district who headed the sub-com­mit­tee in­spect­ing fire fight­ing equip­ment.

The study blamed a pol­icy where money was only pro­vided when equip­ment was deemed se­ri­ously bro­ken. Mr Som­boon said the coun­cil is work­ing to pro­vide a bud­get that will im­prove the state of equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties across the city. He said the coun­cil would also like to see the 225 use­less fire trucks auc­tioned off.

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