‘DONATION OF PLASMA HUMANE AND PUBLIC-SPIRITED GESTURE’
He is an award-winning IPS officer from the 1988 batch whose strong suit is Human Rights and Police Reforms. After his appointment late last year as DG, Fire Service, Commandant General Home Guards & Director, Civil Defence, he has overseen some stupendous work by the Odisha Fire Service department personnel – from out-of-state restoration work after Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal, to plasma donation back home. Satyajit Mohanty shares his thoughts with Siddhartha Tripathy on what inspires his department to work so impressively.
How did this brilliant idea of Covid-recovered fire service personnel becoming plasma donors really come about?
A total of 372 personnel of Odisha Fire Service organisation were deputed to Kolkata during the May-June period this year on the direction of the State Government to assist the administration of West Bengal in restoration tasks post cyclone Amphan amid fears of the Corona pandemic. On their return, more than 190 fire personnel were found to be infected with Covid-19. Fortunately, after their recovery, all of them joined their duty posts. Last month, the Honourable Chief Minister of Odisha appealed to the people of the state, who have recovered from Covid-19 disease, to donate plasma for the treatment of critical Covid patients. Inspired by such an appeal, several Covid-recovered fire personnel volunteered to donate plasma in keeping with the ethos of the organisation, “We Serve to Save.”
Was there any initial hesitation among the department personnel to come forward for plasma donation? If yes, how was it addressed?
No, there was no hesitation among the fire service personnel to donate plasma. On the other hand, we have been overwhelmed by the eagerness of our fire service personnel to donate plasma.
Is OSF the first department of its kind in the country whose firefighters are plasma warriors as well?
We do not have any data to claim that we are the first firefighters in the country to donate plasma. But, yes, we are first among the frontline Covid warriors in the state to do so.
Has such a great gesture from your plasma warriors raised the morale of fire service personnel in general?
Yes, donation of plasma is a humane and public-spirited gesture. Recognition by the Honourable Chief Minister and by the organisation for their noble gesture has definitely boosted their morale and shall inspire the next generation of fire service personnel as well.
Given that the recovered patients are supposed to be immune to coronavirus, does that make them an even bigger asset during the pandemic?
It is true that once recovered from the Covid-19 disease, chances of further infection are rare, but we are taking all precautionary measures in order to prevent our men from getting further affected by the disease. In an emergency service, we cannot afford too many infections.
How has your personal experience been interacting and giving awards to your department’s plasma warriors?
The fire service personnel of Odisha are highly self-motivated and committed professionals. In felicitating and giving them rewards, we only acknowledge their selfless services.