Hyderabad: They rush into blazes, courageously fight dangerous fires, and do not think twice before risking their lives to save that of others.
But, the welfare policy of the State Fire Services department does not cover their risks in its ‘risk allowance’. The allowance, according to members of the Telangana State Fire Services Association, is a mere Rs 100. The maintenance allowance for them is just Rs 150, with both remitted in their bank accounts along with their salaries.
Station Fire Officer, Secretariat, Venkat Nagendra said the money provided under these categories is not enough. “We are doing a job that constantly puts our lives at risk. Providing Rs 100 and Rs 150 cannot really fulfill our needs. The department and government should reconsider this,” he said.
The firemen, after rushing around saving lives, are left to tackle with health issues of their own or of their family’s all by themselves. They pointed out that they do not have a health insurance scheme from the department.
A senior officer said a proposal was prepared to provide health insurance to all employees. “The proposal will soon be forwarded to the Home Ministry for approval,” he said.
Handling emergency situations on a regular basis is forcing firemen to visit hospitals every month. And for this, they have to spend from their own pockets. A State Fire Officer, who did not want to be named, said once a person is exposed to smoke, it leads to complications such as chronic headache and breathing problems, among others.
“Though the State government was urged to revise our salaries under the Pay Revision Commission, no action was taken so far,” he said, adding that a fireman has to shell out even to get his uniform repaired if damaged in rescue operations.