Study reveals woeful state of fire dept

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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