Peshawar firefighters get motorcycles to tackle hard-to-reach fires

By Javed Khan

Firefighters stand alert on their newly introduced motorcycles at the Rescue 1122 headquarters on March 18. [Javed Khan]

Firefighters stand alert on their newly introduced motorcycles at the Rescue 1122 headquarters on March 18. [Javed Khan]

PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's (KP) rescue service has inaugurated a firefighting service that will use motorcycles to navigate the crowded streets of Peshawar and extinguish fires, say officials.

The new service, which was launched on March 7, is the first of its type in Pakistan, Bilal Ahmad Faizi, a spokesman for KP's Rescue 1122 emergency service, told Pakistan Forward.

"Rescue 1122 has so far put out fires at 5,361 places since 2009," said Faizi, adding that the motorcycles had been necessary for a long time because they can easily move through the city's streets.

The fire bikes will respond immediately to any calls from crowded urban localities. "This will help restrict the flames before the fire trucks arrive at the spot", he said.

"The motorbikes carry two tanks of 25 litres of water each along with two fire extinguishers and foam," Asad Ali Khan, the outgoing director general of KP's Rescue 1122, told Pakistan Forward.

Improving service to the public

The deployment of the motorcycle service is the latest in the KP government's efforts to better serve the community.

"Before the fire bikes, KP's Rescue 1122 began operating emergency medical response buses, mini-ambulances and small fire trucks in 2017 to better help residents of Peshawar and of other districts," Faizi said, adding that Rescue 1122 serves 10 of KP's districts.

KP Rescue 1122 authorities are planning to introduce motorcycle ambulances in the next few months, he added.

Punjab Province's Rescue 1122 introduced motorbike ambulances last October for quicker response to medical emergencies in crowded places. The motorcycle ambulances carry all the required equipment for addressing medical emergencies on the road or other places before victims go to hospitals.

The KP government is providing all kinds of facilities and the latest technology to the department to more effectively help the public, said Dr. Khatir Ahmad, the newly appointed director general of KP's Rescue 1122.

"The newly introduced fire bikes are a unique service that can respond immediately in the narrow streets of the city," Ahmad said at a meeting of Rescue 1122 officials March 29.

Small fire trucks and mini-ambulances have been handed over to three other districts of the province -- Swat, Abbottabad and Dera Ismail Khan, he added.

"The mini-ambulances and fire vehicles will reach other districts very soon, as we want to serve the public on its doorstep," added Ahmad.

A grateful community

The general public appreciates the new fire bike service.

"Since the roads remain mostly blocked by construction on the Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] and daily traffic jams, this fire bike service will help put out fires in crowded neighbourhoods and on streets that trucks cannot enter," Asif Jan, 35, told Pakistan Forward.

Jan is a resident of Meena Bazaar, a market with narrow residential streets in inner Peshawar.

Firefighters arriving on fire trucks had difficulty putting out a recent fire in the nearby Karimpura Bazaar, added Jan.

"The mini fire vehicles, especially the motorbikes with water tanks, will be more helpful in controlling fires in the inner city," he said.

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