For the standard set of firefighting trucks, it's a challenge to reach areas such as slums and other localities with narrow streets. This issue has been faced by fire brigade personnel in several crowded cities in the country. As a solution, two-wheeler-based fire fighting vehicles have been developed. These are in service in several cities including Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kottayam.
A number of these fire-fighting vehicles are based on Royal Enfield motorcycles. The preference is apparently due to the rugged nature of Royal Enfield motorcycles.
In many cases, the choice has been Bullet 500cc bike. The latest addition will be Himalayan-based fire fighting vehicles that will be deployed with Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Himalayan-based firefighting ambulance is equipped with 20-litre water tanks on both sides at the rear. The motorcycle is unlikely to have any issues with the additional weight, as it has been designed to carry heavy luggage. In its stock form, Himalayan comes with dedicated racks at both front and rear.
At rear, the retrofitted Himalayan also gets a 100-foot pipe and spray nozzle. Other equipment includes a pump for spraying water at high pressure. While the 20-litre tanks will store water by default, it is possible that other fire extinguishing material can be added.
It's necessary because water alone cannot extinguish all types of fires. For example, throwing water on petrol fires can actually cause them to flare up further. Himalayan firefighting bike will have two personnel on board. The bike will serve multiple purposes in addition to dousing fires. For example, it can be used for rescue and evacuation operations from areas where four-wheeled vehicles cannot reach easily.
It can be used as a reconnaissance bike that can reach the troubled spot quickly and relay information to the control room. The bikes will also work as route clearance vehicles, so that fire brigade team can cruise through traffic and reach the destination in time.
Himalayan firefighter cost
Initially, three Himalayan fire bikes are being purchased by PCMC at a cost of Rs 13.5 lakh each. It includes the price of the bike and the firefighting equipment that it carries. Stock Himalayan is available at a starting price of Rs 2.16 lakh. The retrofitting is done by a third-party agency that specializes in building firefighting equipment.
Engine will be same as stock version, a 411cc air cooled, SOHC unit. It generates 24.3 bhp of max power at 6500 rpm and 32 Nm of peak torque at 4,500 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed constant mesh gearbox.
To ensure it is easily noticeable, Himalayan fire bikes are expected to get a dual-tone colour scheme of red and yellow. This is the standard colour code for firefighting vehicles in most parts of the world.