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Many of the firefighting machines and gadgets are outdated and should be replaced with new equipment.
Many of the firefighting machines and gadgets are outdated and should be replaced with new equipment.

Uptick in Fire Department Budget

The Tehran Municipality is obliged to pay 2% of the building safety charges (collected from non-residential buildings and calculated based on their land area, location, risk coefficient, etc) or around $35 million (1,400 billion rials) to the Firefighti

Uptick in Fire Department Budget

The annual budget of the Firefighting Organization of Iran for the upcoming fiscal year (begins March 21) is 6,150 billion rials ($162 million), amounting to only 0.05% of the total national budget.
The budget has seen an uptick from the outgoing year when it was 5,350 billion rials ($140 million), which experts and the public had criticized for being too little for an organization with such a grave task, ISNA reports.
At the parliament session last Tuesday, lawmakers also agreed to allocate 1,000 billion rials ($26 million) in the next year’s budget to refurbish and develop fire departments across the country.
The slight upward increase in the firefighting department’s budget comes after a large commercial high-rise, the Plasco Building, collapsed after a huge blaze for several hours on January 19 in downtown Tehran.
Despite over 200 firefighters and more than 10 fire engines present on the scene, the efforts to put out the inferno proved in vain, and many critics, including the firefighting department blamed lack of essential equipment and facilities as the main reason for the failure to extinguish the blaze.
Abolfazl Qanaati, member of Tehran City Council, in the wake of the Plasco incident told Donyay-e Khodro that the equipment used to put out the fire was insufficient.
“The equipment was good for an 11-storey building, but not for a 17-storey one,” he said. “In such cases, a firefighting helicopter can help in faster and more effective control.”
The firefighting department has no aerial firefighting equipment.
Responding to a query on the types of firefighting vehicles used by the Tehran Firefighting Department, he said at present both domestically-produced and imported firefighting machines and gadgets are utilized. “However, many of them are outdated and should be replaced with new firefighting equipment,” Eqtesadonline quoted him as saying.
After a similar fire incident two years ago in the capital when two women employees lost their lives due to a fire at a tailoring workshop on Jomhouri Street (same street as the one where Plasco was located), Qanaati said it was stated that due to outdated and worn-out firefighting apparatus, “timely help for the two women couldn’t be provided, resulting in their deaths.”

  Improving Quality of Facilities
Shortly after the incident, a bill was approved by the TCC with provisions to improve the quality of facilities and equipment at fire stations, since from among the 141 firefighting vehicles, 56 were found to be outdated and needed replacements.
Based on the bill, this fiscal year which ends in March, the Tehran Municipality (TM) had been obliged to pay 2% of the building safety charges (collected from non-residential buildings and calculated based on their land area, location, risk coefficient, etc) or around $35 million (1,400 billion rials) to the Firefighting Department.
Soon after the Plasco incident, council member Rahmatollah Hafezi also wrote on his personal Telegram channel that, “The Tehran Municipality was obliged to pay $35 million (2% of the safety charges it collected) for the development and equipment of firefighting stations. However, the TM announced it would allocate 1,200 billion rials. Out of that amount, only $5.4 million has been paid.”
He also said the previous five-year plan (2011-2016) had envisaged a total budget of 10 trillion rials ($263 million) for the Firefighting Organization, but the amount was reduced to 4,000 billion ($105 million) after “a certain group” disagreed with the amount.
According to him, the share of safety tax that should be allocated to expansion and refurbishment of fire stations and their facilities has never been fully paid over the past few years either.

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