Police urged to intensify checks on fire safety ahead of Spring Festival

Updated: 11 Feb 2010
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BEIJING: China's Ministry of Public Security has ordered local fire-fighting departments to intensify checks to ensure safety, days ahead of the Spring Festival.

In a circular carried by the ministry's website Wednesday, the ministry's fire control bureau asked local police to inspect key government buildings, including power, water, petroleum and gas supply facilities; broadcasting and TV stations; shopping malls; hotels; hospitals; and recreational centers.

Venues hosting festive activities including fireworks and lantern shows should be especially closely monitored, the circular reads.

The ministry said the fire control situation was stable, with the number of fires, people injured and property losses dropping year-on-year since the beginning of this year. Still, the number of major fire accidents with large numbers of fatalities had increased.

China saw nine big fires across the country in January. The fires killed 44 people. The number of fires was three more than in the same period last year, while the number of people killed was 24 people more, the ministry said.
The ministry's fire control bureau also warned the public to be careful with fireworks.

The Spring Festival usually sees the largest number of residential fires in China, because of the tradition of setting off fireworks to celebrate the lunar new year, the ministry said.

Some 93 people were killed and 38 injured in 10,653 fires in the seven days around the Spring Festival last year, resulting in direct property losses of 6.37 million yuan ($ 932,919).

Fireworks and careless use of fire were the major reasons for fire accidents during the period, the ministry said.

The Spring Festival, or the New Year's Day on the Chinese lunar calendar, will fall on Sunday. It is an occasion for reunions of relatives and friends, completed with much fun and plenty of eating. Spring Festival is the most important event for people of Chinese origin. 
SOURCE: China Daily
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