HA NOI (VNS)— The Ministry of Public Security has asked the Ha Noi Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting to study the feasibility of purchasing and using helicopters for firefighting and other rescue work.
|Firefighters raced to the scene of a fire at a two-storey, timber building in Hoan Kiem District's Chuong Duong Ward late last month. Upgrading fire fighting equipment and facilities is an urgent task for the capital city. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tan
The request follows an increasing number of fires in the city, particularly the blaze last December in the 33-storey Electricity of Viet Nam building that injured 27 people, said deputy director of the department Hoang Quoc Dinh in a briefing of the municipal Party Committee held on Tuesday.
"Raising funds to purchase helicopters is not difficult. The most complicated problem is to study how to use and integrate helicopters with other firefighting infrastructure," he said.
Additionally, the helicopters would not be used regularly, so experts would be needed to maintain and repair them. However, firefighters have not received any training on this subject, said Dinh.
"Fire fighting in the city is met with a number of difficulties as Ha Noi lacks fire fighting equipment," he said.
The department has more than 130 fire engines, however, many of them are too old and often broken down, impairing the effectiveness of fire fighting.
According to regulations, every 150m of road requires one fire hydrant to supply water for fire fighting, however, the city lacks more than 5,000 hydrants, with only 885 out of 941 existing hydrants in working order.
To avoid blazes, the department will strengthen its fire prevention inspections, especially in high-storey buildings, shopping centres, large manufacturing workshops, and garages. It will also develop a project to establish a more effective fire fighting and rescue system.
Currently, the city is constructing about 500 hydrants in inner districts and Tu Liem District with total investment of VND101.4 billion (US$4.8 million). It will also build five reservoirs to supply water for fire fighting.
"Other firefighting measures, such as setting up automatic fire alarms and providing guidance to residents on how to prevent and deal with fires, are also in need of improvement," said Dinh.
Since the beginning of the year, the city has seen 159 fires, an increase of four compared with the same period last year. Fires in 2012 have so far killed six people and injured 24 others, and caused losses of VND40.7 billion (US$1.9 million), up by VND15 billion ($714,290) compared with last year.
Most of the fires were caused by faulty electrical circuits and gas leaks, with nearly 60 per cent of the fires occuring in Cau Giay District due to high rates of urbanisation, said Dinh. — VNS