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Experts say old fire extinguishers unsafe

Update: January, 29/2016 - 09:53
Traffic police inpsects a coach's fire extinguisher. Experts have warned that equipping cars with old fire extinguishers is dangerous as they could explode. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — Experts have warned that equipping cars with old fire extinguishers is dangerous as they could explode.

Some shops in HCM City have collected old fire extinguishers, repaired them and sold them to customers to equip four-seat and nine-seat cars.

The owner of one shop selling fire extinguishers in District 11, who remains anonymous, said that besides selling new fire extinguishers, she also collected old ones and repaired and resold them.

She bought old fire extinguishers for VND50,000-100,000 (US$2.2-4.4) per bottle.

Although the old fire extinguishers were repaired, some out of date ones could suddenly explode, she said.

The owner of another fire prevention tool shop in District 12 said that the old fire extinguishers were sold at the same price as the new ones, about VND180,000-300,000 ($8-13).

Colonel Huynh Ngoc Quan, head of the Fire Prevention Division under the HCM City Fire Prevention and Control Police Department, said that fire extinguishers in vehicles had to be certified safe by a Ministry of Public Security stamp.

Old fire extinguishers, although had been repaired, did not ensure safety and quality, he said.

Warranty stamps issued by shops did not prove the fire extinguishers' safety.

Quan recommended that residents buy fire extinguishers from shops with permits.

Recently fire extinguishers have been reported to explode.

A mini fire extinguisher, which was put near the hand brake in a car parked in District 7 in HCM City, exploded last Wednesday.

On January 17, when Nguyen Hoang Hai was driving his BMW in Ha Noi's Ba Dinh District, his mini fire extinguisher in the car explored.

Colonel Quan said that manufacturers had calculated the effect of pressure and temperature on the bottle's cover while producing the fire extinguishers. Repaired and renewed ones faced a high risk of explosion.

Lawyer Nguyen Duc Chanh, from the HCM City Bar Association, said that Decree 79 issued in 2014 regulated that fire prevention and control tools must be quality tested based on Ministry of Public Security guidance.

The tools must be stamped by the ministry, he said.

Manufacturers and distributors who used different stamps on the tools were breaking the law, said Chanh.

Vehicles with four to nine seats had to carry fire extinguishers from January 6 this year following the Ministry of Public Security's Circular 57.

Vehicles with more than four seats, which are found not carrying extinguishers, will be fined VND300,000-500,000 (US$13-$22). — VNS

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