Tribune News Service
Gurugram, December 14
Faced with a fire emergency in Gurugram? ‘Don’t call 101’! Neel Kahturia, a Sector 31 resident, learnt this the hard way following a fire in her house.
The 31-year-old MNC executive had a rude awakening in the morning, realising the meter panel installed in the staircase was on fire. Acting on the fire safety drill she had learnt over the years, she rushed out of the house with her in-laws as flames engulfed the staircase, filling it with smoke. Due to overnight downpour, Kathuria couldn’t find dry sand to fight the blaze and dialled ‘101’ after trying to reach the electricity department.
“I used my phone but the call didn’t connect. Over 15 calls made from mother-in-law’s phone went unanswered. All this while, the flame kept rising and smoke grew thicker,” said Kahturia.
A neighbour then dialled ‘112’, a free-of-cost common helpline to reach emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police). “The responder told me they only dealt with police and not the fire services, and gave me a relevant number, expressing inability to connect me directly even as I asserted it was an emergency,” she says.
One of her colleagues whom she contacted subsequently shared the number of the local fire station. A fire tender arrived within 5 minutes of calling the number.
“Firemen told me ‘101’ calls made from most networks in the area often get diverted to Delhi and go unanswered. He shared some local fire services numbers for prompt assistance in the future,” said Kathuria.
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