It has been giving performances in public places highlighting COVID-19 preventive measures. The Department is also conducing its annual safe Deepavali campaign
This year, fire fighters of the Tamil Nadu Fire & Rescue Service (TNF&S) have an additional challenge on their hands. Besides the regular fire-fighting and rescue operations, they are taking the novel Coronavirus on, by carrying out disinfection operations. For the TNF&S band, the year hit a more unusual note — though their annual performances have been struck off the calendar, they are busy spreading awareness about COVID-19 through their music.
“Since May, our band members sing and dance at public places, mainly at crowded bus stops, to create awareness about COVID-19. The band has performed at Teynampet, T. Nagar, Mylapore, Thoraipakkam, Ashok Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur and a few other places,” says G. Jayendran, Station Officer, T. Nagar.
The TNFRS band has written the songs, scored music for them, and also choreographed the dance steps to go with them.
“We have scored around ten songs on the theme of COVID-19 preventive measures. Topics include mask wearing; maintaining physical distance; avoiding crowded places; avoiding handshakes; and washing hands. When we started, we used the music from film songs, and then we scored music for our songs. There are songs that induce hope in people that this crisis can be overcome,” 51-year-old D. Manohar, the band master who has completed 24 years in TNFRS. “ Following the significant relaxations in lockdown rules, and in view of the festive season, we have composed a song that asks people to not let their guard down.”
In the early months of lockdown, TNFRS also conducted an online essay-writing and drawing competitions for children on COVID-19.
“Recently, we have organised programmes in Esplanade, Royapuram, Purasaiwakkam and Sembiyum, a safe Deepavali campaign,” says Rajesh Kannan, District Officer, Chennai City North. “The campaign spells out all the safety measures, which include using long incense sticks to set fire to crackers; keeping a bucket of water at hand to discard burnt crackers in it; wearing cotton clothes and not synthetic clothes; keeping fire extinguishers at hand.”
Likewise, safe Deepavali awareness programmes have been organised by various stations of TNFRS, and also at the Metropolitan Transport Corporation terminus in Guindy Industrial Estate.
Says Jayendran, “We advise people to avoid rockets. Though fanciful, they can be dangerous — imagine the damage that a rocket set to fire can cause if it lands on a cracker stall. Further, we have noticed that most of the fire accidents during Deepavali are caused by rockets,” says Jayendran.