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November 18, 2010

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Survey reveals flaws

MOST Shanghai locals have never participated in fire escape exercises and around half of them could not locate fire-fighting equipment in public hallways inside the buildings where they live or work, according to a survey conducted by a local university this week following the high-rise fire on Jiaozhou Road on Monday.

Public awareness of fire control has risen and disaster prevention experts are urging for improvements to fire control equipment and procedures. They are calling for more vigilance when it comes to fire safety and increased training in fire fighting.

A social science investigation center at Shanghai University interviewed 221 randomly selected local residents by telephone for a survey on Tuesday and found that around 84 percent of them said they had never taken part in a fire drill.

Only 5 percent have received training in fire-control and escape procedures, while about 24 percent said they had "learned nothing" about how to escape in the event of a fire or basic rescue skills.

In respect of fire-fighting equipment around workplaces and the home, 52 percent of the respondents said there was nothing installed in nearby hallways. Nearly 48 percent did not know how to handle fire-control equipment, the survey also found.

Although the city holds fire drills at times, many were held under "ideal circumstances" such as in open areas in the suburbs, a disaster prevention expert commented, adding that no close-to-reality challenges were actually done in such -exercises and that they were always completed smoothly.

Zhou Meiliang, an official with the Shanghai Fire Control Bureau said they are offering training in fire prevention and escape, and if people were not aware of the drills, it was their employer's or school's responsibility to inform them.


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