“In order to avoid any recurrence of Rana Plaza or Tazreen incidents we are working on a concept of Mini-Fire Brigades for textile and RMG factories”, said Major Mohammad Zihadul Islam, Director of the Bangladesh Fire Service & Civil Defence (BFSCD).


“We would like to strengthen the network of our decentralized rescue teams and we are very happy about the German support”, he explained during the opening ceremony of the workshop held on 21st of April at BFSCD Training Complex, Mirpur, Dhaka. The main objective of the workshop has been to enhance the technical knowledge of the participants in the field of operational fire safety and rescue, and to identify best practices for the implementation of Mini-Fire Brigades.


The daylong technical workshop on Mini-Fire Brigades was supported by the German Development Cooperation, GIZ. The project Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES), a joint program of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), has invited two experts for fire safety planning and crisis management from the German consulting firm Hügin International Group. National experts on fire safety and rescue management from BFSCD, from the business associations BGMEA, BKMEA and from RMG factories took the chance to share their views about the technical input of the experts Mr. Lothar Huegin and Mr. Claason Grosskurth.


BFSCD Director Mr. Islam said that the location of some RMG factories was a barrier to provide emergency services timely. In this situation, it may be a good initiative to establish Mini-Fire Brigades, especially for the factories located in high rise buildings, and also in factories that haven arrow access roads with a long distance from fire stations. He added that well-coordinated efforts from public and private side are needed to establish the first of pilot Mini-Fire Brigades soon.


Mr. Magnus Schmid, Programme Coordinator of PSES, GIZ, stressed in his speech that industrial Mini-Fire Brigades should be created in different cluster areas of RMG factories to ensure fire safety at any workplace.


“In Germany the rescue forces have to be on site and fit for service during the first eight minutes after the emergency call”, Mr. Schmid said. He also added that GIZ has taken initiative to conduct an inventory analysis by international experts in RMG factories in Narayanganj and in Gazipur to see the possibility in establishing two pilot Mini-Fire Brigades in Bangladesh.


In November 2013 a total of 25 representatives from the BFSCD, the Department of Disaster Management, the business associations BGMEA and BKMEA as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs have been invited by GIZ to participate in a two-week training and study tour in Germany on fire safety in the industry and risk management.

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