"Fire" is a State subject and has been included as municipal function in the XIIth Schedule of Indian Constitution in terms of the Article 243-W.
Directorate General Civil Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal office responsible for providing Advisories to State Governments on Fire Prevention, Fire Protection, Fire Legislation and Training matters.
The Fire Services in many States are still the concern of the resource starved local bodies. The Fire Services in India are generally ill-organized and ill-equipped. The lack of funds has been the main constraint in equipping the fire services and providing adequate fire safety cover to the population in a uniform manner.
The existing set-up of fire services in the country is rather heterogeneous and not conducive to effective protection against increasing incidents of fires
Most of the State Fire Services do not have specialist fire fighting appliances like Turn-table Ladders/ Hydraulic Platforms, Crash Tenders/ Foam Tenders and Rescue Vehicles. Fire Services lack proper type of Rescue Equipments, High Pressure Pumps, Communication Facilities and other Specialist type of fire fighting appliances/ equipments. A large number of State Fire Services do not even have adequate conventional fire fighting appliances like Water Tenders, Portable Pumps etc. To provide fire fighting cover in urban areas and extending timely fire cover in an emergency in a remotely located area is hardly possible.
In metropolitan cities, high-rise buildings constitute major fire hazards. These buildings lack adequate in-built fire protection systems and the existing equipments are not effective to fight fires from outside on top floors. The buildings, therefore, can be death traps. There are many cities in the country where hundreds of high-rise buildings have come up but the fire service there do not have even a single tall ladder to fight fire and undertake rescue operation.
As against 70,868 fire stations as per Standing Fire Advisory Council norms, there are only 1705 Fire Stations with 6026 Fire Tenders/Vehicles manned by total 49,769 fire professionals. Besides, there are 284 Fire Stations operating in industrial sectors with a fleet of 1064 appliances and vehicles of various specifications manned by 13,843 fire personnel. There is a shortage of 97.59% fire stations, 96.28% fireman and 80.04 % Fire Tenders and Rescue vehicles. Urban fire services suffer a deficiencies of 72.75% in fire stations, 78.79% in man power and 22.43% in fire fighting and rescue vehicles.
In 144 towns having population more than one lakh, there is huge deficiency of fire fighting infrastructure in these cities alone. Fire Service need 1257 fire stations, 2230 Water Tenders, 61 Rescue Tenders, 1633 Ambulances, 1633 Extra Heavy Water Tenders more to bring adequate fire fighting facilities as per norms fixed by Standing Fire Advisory Council (SFAC) .
There is an urgent need for creation of adequate number of well-staffed fire stations in each State to extend fire cover to all areas within a reasonable time.