Intending to reduce its response time during disasters, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to upgrade its Disaster Management Unit (DMU). As part of the upgradation, the corporation will replace its outdated messaging system with a digital one. The civic body has made a budgetary provision of Rs10 crore for the project.
The BMC is currently using an analogue VHF wireless communication system, which was set up in 2009. “The system is outdated. For a city like Mumbai, we felt the urgent need to adopt a robust and reliable communication system during a disaster situation for communication with stakeholders. The analogue VHF system is not just outdated but even sluggish. Also, there have been repeated complaints of errors,” said a senior civic official.
The body has decided to replace the analogue VHF system with digital mobile radio (DMR). The automation of the system will help the disaster management unit function easily. The DMR has advanced communication features like geo-fencing and geo-tracking.
In the DMR system, there will be no-interception by unauthorised communication network, and have superior voice quality. The proposed system can be integrated with other communication systems used by the civic body.
A software will be installed for quick message delivery during the disasters. As part of the tailormade software, the BMC’s disaster management cell has identified 32 types of disasters, such as flood, fire, terrorist threat, and bomb blast. A standard operating procedure (SOP) is associated with each of the disasters, which enables the software to auto-generate a response procedure and intimate the concerned response teams. It means, when a citizen calls to report a disaster, the operator in the management cell only needs to classify the type of disaster.
According to BMC officials, the analogue VHF system also requires manual work leading to more workload and delay in the response time. They claim the upgraded system will help the cell counter issues faced due to the outdated messaging system. Even Mumbai Fire Brigade will get a digital mobile radio (DMR) system.