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March 7, 2013

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Fire prevention squads set for high-rises

SHANGHAI will set up part-time fire prevention squads at high-rises this year to boost emergency response capabilities, the Shanghai Fire Prevention Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau said squad members will be trained and paid.

The city will also hire more contract firefighters, the bureau said yesterday.

Shanghai presently has 7,200 full-time firefighters and 1,600 contract firefighters.

"The pressure to prevent fires and eliminate fire hazards is still great despite all our efforts," said Vice Mayor Jiang Ping, who is also the director of the city's fire control and safety committee.

Safety hazards lurk in crowded places like subways, high-rises and big markets, according to Jiang.

The bureau will also train volunteer teams, mostly made up of building management personnel and guards, to work with the fire prevention squads at high-rises measuring 100 meters or more.

Such squads will also be at large public venues and some hospitals, officials said.

It's the latest move to improve fire-fighting capabilities as the city continues to learn lessons from the apartment building inferno that killed 58 on Jiaozhou Road in downtown Jing'an District on November 15, 2010.

The Shanghai Fire Prevention Bureau said 39 people were killed in blazes last year in the city, down from 43 in 2011.

Authorities said most fires in the city were caused by human negligence or illegal use of electricity.

They added that fires in residential communities were usually the deadliest.


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