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December 20, 2011

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Fire, food safety head city's to-do list

THE city plans to install fire extinguishers inside hundreds of aged high-rises and replace missing or broken fire hydrants across needy neighborhoods next year in efforts to bolster safety measures, the local government said yesterday.

It's part of a package of 23 planned local government-backed initiatives to take place next year to improve locals' well being.

An online poll was initiated yesterday for people to vote on what they think are the most important tasks. The government will then prioritize the work, including funding, based on the polling results.

Since the devastating Jiaozhou Road inferno that claimed 58 lives late last year, fire-control has emerged as one of the public's top concerns.

As a result, the government plans to put fire extinguishers inside 700 aged residential high-rises next year, as well as reinstall 1,500 fire hydrants that are either missing or damaged.

To curb accidents on construction sites, the government plans to fund work-site safety training programs for 300,000 migrant workers, who are common victims in such accidents.

The plans also involve tightening up food safety by increasing regulations. Hundreds of local wet markets and supermarkets will be required to practice an origin tracing system for pork, beef and rice, through which information regarding where and when the food materials are produced can be clearly identified.

To cut back on morning commuters getting unsanitary breakfasts from sub-standard street sellers, the government plans to support the opening of 400 licensed breakfast stores and hundreds of mobile breakfast carts. The new breakfast stores and stalls will be put mostly outside younger residential complexes, office compounds and major Metro stops to ease the current shortfall of licensed and safe breakfast foods there.

The changes will also include adopting paperless utility bills next year, allowing people to pay off the monthly expenses through an integrated online platform. Authorities are building the shared system to have all utilities charged in one electronic form, saving millions of pieces of paper a year.

People are invited to cast their votes online at


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