Kathmandu installs dry risers to suppress fires in congested spacesLocal residents say they feel the alleys are now safe from fire-related incidents.
The Ward 25 of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Saturday successfully tested a ‘dry riser’ over a distance of 220 metres from Masangalli to Mahaboudha.
A dry riser is an empty pipe that’s connected to a pressurised water source by firefighters. The vertical pipeline distributes water to multiple levels of a building. The metropolitan city has installed four-inch-long iron pipes along the alleys of the area where the water gets supplied from tankers or fire brigades from Indrachwok and Mahaboudha.
The Mahaboudha area and its vicinity are some of the oldest and busiest market places in the capital and are vulnerable to fire-related incidents. The city has already seen numerous cases of fire breakouts, causing massive losses of human lives and properties.
On Saturday morning, authorities conducted experimentation where they lit an artificial fire on the fourth floor of an under-construction building in Masangalli. A fire brigade and an ambulance arrived immediately, along with volunteers from the Nepal Red Cross Society and officials from Juddha Barun Yantra (City Fire Brigade). They connected water pipes from the fire brigade to the riser. A significant number of locals watched the activity from their verandahs.
“We feel safe with the installation of dry risers in our locality. When a fire breaks out in one house here, it threatens all other houses in the area, as they lie in such close proximity,” said Ram Hari Maharjan, 47, a local resident.
Nilkaji Shakya, the chairperson of ward 25, said his dream project materialised on Saturday.
“I had dreamed of this project some 25 years ago, as there are many places in the Valley where fire brigades can’t reach. Dry risers should be built in other places that are inaccessible to firefighters,” said Shakya, who is also the coordinator of the Disaster Management and Citizen Safety Committee.
The Rs 940,612 project received Rs500,000 from Strengthening Urban Resilience and Engagement Programme, Rs200,000 from the Disaster Management Committee of Ward-25 and Rs240,612 from various organisations and consumer committees in the area.
Lila Raj Gachha Magar, chief of Juddha Barun Yantra, said the dry risers would prevent fires from spreading out.
Inaugurating the programme, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya said the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has already started a tendering process to purchase an additional three fire brigades. He vowed to extend fire safety measures to other wards as well.
At present, the city has only three fire brigades, two ladders, one rescue truck and one rescue jeep. A month ago, the city had established a fire station in Ramhiti, Ward-6.