Scene of the blaze at Hà Nội’s Paediatrics Hospital this week. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The capacity of fire rescue and prevention services in provinces and cities should be considered among criteria to assess local competitiveness, said Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng.
The proposal looked to urge localities nationwide to pay attention to fire rescue and prevention work in order to reduce human and property damage, he said at an online fire safety conference with 63 provinces and cities yesterday morning.
A recent series of fires caused huge losses to human life and property, including the latest blaze at Hà Nội’s Paediatrics Hospital this week. Previously, the Carina apartment building fire in HCM City clamed the lives of 13 residents in March this year and a karaoke bar fire on Trần Thái Tông Street killed 13 people in late 2016.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that these tragedies were partly caused by a lack of awareness.
A number of officials, including leaders of localities and sectors, as well as residents, were not fully aware of the importance of fire prevention work, he said.
Investment for development had been boosted, but investment in preventing such incidents had not received the same level of attention, he said.
He also mentioned the fact that high rises failed to meet fire safety standards but were still constructed and opened in densely-populated areas, which led to huge losses when fires broke out.
“Cities with high populations must mobilise quick-response teams to fires. Fire prevention work must take structure and property protection measures into account,” Dũng said.
He highlighted that fire prevention work must first and foremost ensure human lives before reducing property damage.
He asked sectors and localities to point out irrelevant parts of current legal documents in terms of technical standards and criteria in investment and construction to make fire prevention work better.
He urged for tightened regulations in operating apartment buildings, including asking high rise investors and management boards to bear responsibility for the maintenance of fire prevention systems, especially in resettlement buildings and social housing.
“Heads of localities must be responsible for any serious human and property damage caused by explosions and fires in the areas they manage,” Dũng said.
According to the Ministry of Public Security report presented at the conference, as many as 2,089 fires and explosions were reported in the first half of this year, claiming the lives of 68 people, injuring 151 others and causing property losses of over VNĐ1.3 trillion. Failures in electrical systems, petrol and chemicals are the leading cause of the blazes. — VNS