|HCM City firefighters practice firefighting, search and rescue at the Phu Tho Stadium. The city asked local authorities to intensify inspections and strictly punish violations of fire safety regulations in the city. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh
HCM CITY (VNS) — Chairman of HCM City's People's Committee Le Hoang Quan has asked local authorities to intensify inspections and strictly punish violations of fire safety regulations in the city.
Accordingly, an inspection team involving the fire-fighting police, the departments of Construction, Culture and Sports, Industry and Trade, and Electricity, and market management agencies will be formed, focusing on inspecting high-risk sites such as petrol stations, restaurants, entertainment centres and construction sites.
Quan underscored the need to abide by fire prevention and fighting regulations, including those related to extinguishing fires from a safe distance, measures to prevent fires from spreading and emergency exits.
The Chairman also urged relevant agencies to strictly and effectively implement directives from the municipal Party Committee and People's Committee relating to fire prevention and fighting and rescue work in the city.
Communications programmes should be launched to raise public awareness of the issue, Quan said.
In 2014, nearly 250 fires were reported in HCM City, killing 19 people and injuring 12 others, and causing a total economic loss of about VND50 billion (US$2.35 million).
Ha Noi's effort
Ha Noi would set up a network of fire prevention and fighting police in 20 districts in a bid to reduce the increasing number of fires occurring in the city, the municipal Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting has said.
The move followed the department's latest report, which revealed that the number of cases and fatalities had both increased compared to the previous year.
In 2014, some 166 fires broke out in the city, killing 18 people and leaving 15 others injured. The damage was estimated to be more than VND200 billion ($9.4 million).
The number of deaths increased by 12 and the loss incurred by VND150 billion ($7.05 million) compared to the previous year.
The reasons for the fires were mainly electrical short-circuits, technical problems and negligence.
Nguyen Van Son, deputy head of the department, said another reason was the ignorance of authorised agencies and local administrations.
Son said local authorities had not invested in fire prevention and fighting, and equipment was either broken or damaged and unusable when fires broke out.
He said local authorities only focused on security and completely ignored the need to deal with fires on the spot. A shortage of equipment, human resources and knowledge about tackling fires had contributed to the problem.
The campaign to educate the public about preventing and fighting fires was ineffective, and many people did not know what to do in case of a fire, he added.
Son said local authorities should take more responsibility for fire prevention and fighting with measures to prevent fires from spreading and support for fire fighters when needed. — VNS