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June 10, 2011

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Firefighting capability 'not fit for job'

SHANGHAI'S current firefighting facilities are unable to cope with the large number of high-rise buildings and dense population, said a city security report released yesterday.

City legislators assessed the city's firefighting capability in the wake of last year's Jiaozhou Road inferno which engulfed a downtown high-rise residential building on November 15 and claimed 58 lives.

The report said Shanghai's fire stations are poorly distributed - with only 17 out of 120 stations inside the Inner Ring Road.

Water resources are inadequate, the city has too few firefighters and lacks certain equipment compared to other major cities, it said.

Tokyo has 291 fire stations in a city one-third the size of Shanghai, and while Shanghai has 7,180 firefighters, the Japanese capital has more than twice that number.

Hong Kong has 2,000 more firefighters than Shanghai, even though its population is around 7 million, compared to Shanghai's 23 million.

Tokyo and Hong Kong have more aerial ladder trucks, 95 and 112 respectively. In Shanghai, with 14,400 skyscrapers, the figure is just 52.

Zhao Zixin, director of the Shanghai Fire Control Bureau, also expressed his concerns that Shanghai has the most residential high-rise buildings of any city in the world.

More than 80 percent of local skyscrapers are apartment buildings, many more than 20 years old. The bureau plans to renovate those with potential fire dangers.


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