Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – The HCM City Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department is recommending new policies to ensure safety at old apartment buildings that were built before the city’s fire safety regulations took effect in 2011.
Sr Lieut Col Nguyễn Thanh Hưởng, deputy director of the city’s Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department, said that 474 apartments in the city were built before the 2001 regulations.
Many of these apartments violate fire regulations and are at a high risk of fire, according to Hưởng.
For instance, Block G of the Hùng Vương Apartment building in District 5 does not have fire alarms or fire-fighting systems in its garage, which holds a great number of vehicles.
In addition, the apartment building’s long entryway, which also functions as an emergency exit, is being used to park around 100 or more motorbikes, which clogs the residents’ escape route.
Col Bùi Quang Việt, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Fire Prevention and Rescue, said at a conference on fire prevention and fighting on August 24 that some apartment investors had neglected fire safety and only cared about buying cheap equipment and systems in case of inspections.
A representative from the management board of the Phạm Thế Hiển apartment building in District 8 told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng newspaper that most old apartment buildings lacked the budget for major upgrades and must seek help from residents, many of whom are too poor to contribute.
The representative said they hoped that local authorities would either provide financial aid or force apartments’ investors to provide funding to upgrade the apartments.
The city’s Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department and the city plan to ask the government to develop policies that would encourage investors to spend money on repairing and upgrading old apartment buildings and their fire-fighting and prevention systems.
The city’s Department of Construction and districts have been urged to carry out more inspections and deal with apartment buildings that violate fire safety regulations.
The city’s Fire Fighting and Prevention Police Department is also planning to develop fire-fighting forces in apartment buildings, while apartment buildings without fire-fighting forces will be given assistance to form one.
Fire drills will be organised at old apartment buildings at least twice a year to raise safety awareness among residents.
The first six months of the year saw 2,089 fire incidents across the country, with 65 casualties, 133 injuries, and VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$55.9 million) of property damage. – VNS