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Fire alarm, emergency exit door mandatory in residential building
Son Nguyen 21:14, 2023/08/11
Joint firefighting efforts have been inadequate, while inter-family fire safety groups have not performed as expected.

Buildings should be required to have fire alarms and fire escape doors, said Colonel Ngo Thanh Lam, Deputy Head of the Hanoi Police Department's Fire Prevention, Control and Rescue Department.

A big fire ravaged a house in Ha Dong District in May 2023. Photo: Ngoc Chau/The Hanoi Times

"The evacuation plan for private homes should include a fire exit door in every bedroom," he said.

Colonel Lam urged the public and authorities to learn from the three fires that killed 10 people and razed two private homes and an electric motorcycle store in Ha Dong, Dong Da and Hoai Duc districts between May and July.

The fires were caused by an electrical fault in the early morning when everyone was asleep, making it undetectable, Lam said.

"The houses were full of flammable objects and materials. Although they were built with a fire door, all attempts to escape were thwarted," the police officer said.

According to the Department of Fire Prevention, Fight and Rescue under the Ministry of Public Security, a fire alarm system is easy to install, user-friendly and affordable. Hanoi should educate its people to equip themselves with a home alarm system to ensure safety.

Fire incidents in Hanoi have become an urgent issue, especially following the city's administrative boundary expansion 15 years ago.

A report released on August 9 by the city's Department of Fire Prevention, Firefighting and Rescue showed that more than 70% of fires were detected and extinguished early. Inter-family fire safety groups detected and put out about 40 fires from May to July.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 102,000 commercial households, or 94% of the total, have opened their fire exit in addition to the front door. Nearly 1.5 million families, or 91% of those who live in apartments with caged balconies and no access to the balcony and roof, have opened another way out in case of an emergency. Nearly 621,000 families and commercial establishments have equipped their homes with fire alarms and fire extinguishers.

There are more than 5,300 local fire safety teams in all 30 districts, and all team members are well trained and certified. In addition, more than 3,100 inter-family fire safety groups have been active, and more than 11,400 public fire stations have been set up.

Major General Nguyen Van Long, Deputy Minister of Public Security, warned that there have been major fires causing deaths and damage to people's property, while many buildings do not meet electrical and fire safety standards.

Joint firefighting efforts by government and local authorities have been inadequate, while inter-family fire safety groups have not performed as expected, he said.

The Major General urged Hanoi to continue to conduct firefighting activities under the principle of putting people's lives first, putting people at the center of all actions, and making the best use of local resources to deal with fire cases.

Le Hong Son, Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, said the city and local authorities will take stronger measures to fight fires.

"The city government will evaluate the quality of local inter-family fire safety groups, strengthen their training to improve knowledge and skills, and enhance local firefighting facilities," he said. Meanwhile, the city will provide adequate funding and equipment to all sub-municipal units, especially in backward areas. 

The deputy mayor also promised to ask the finance department and relevant units to allocate funds to sub-municipal administrations and suspend the constructions that violates fire safety regulations.

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