Campaign to give access for fire engines

Chen Huizhi
Fire authorities tell city legislators they have launched a campaign to keep fire rescue passages, so-called 'life passages,' in residential complexes clear has been introduced.
Chen Huizhi

The government has embarked on a campaign to clear fire rescue passages in residential complexes around the city, Li Weimin, head of Shanghai General Fire and Rescue Squad, said on Thursday.

The campaign involves persuading residents not to park along major passages in complexes so as to make way for efficient fire rescue, and also the implementation of a decision to use car moving devices when cars get in the way of fire engines, Li said.

Awareness of the blocking of the so-called “life passages” has been heightened around the country after a case in Chongqing in which a man declined to move his car for fire engines.

In a discussion on public safety issues attended by Li and government colleagues, deputies to Shanghai People’s Congress shared their views and suggestions.

Yu Yue, a deputy and vice director of the Yueyang Subdistrict government in Songjiang District, said older residential complexes were of greater concern due to a lack of parking spaces.

“Compulsory marking of fire safety passages on the ground could be a good solution, as demonstrated by previous trials, because indeed many residents have no idea where to park cars even though they’re aware of the importance of keeping such passages clear,” she said.

Li Feikang, a deputy from Huangpu District, said the lack of parking spaces in old residential complexes in downtown Shanghai was a tenacious problem which calls for more vigorous solutions.

“Underground garages should be built wherever possible, and some smaller streets should introduce more parking slots for residents who live nearby,” he said.

There were 3,961 fire cases in Shanghai last year which resulted in 44 deaths and 41 injuries and direct economic losses of 160 million yuan (US$23 million), according to the fire authorities.

Last year, fire equipment was upgraded in 100 older residential complexes, and new e-bike charging facilities were built in 983 residential complexes, according to Huang Yongping, director of the city's housing and urban-rural development commission.

Fire authorities said more such equipment and facilities are to be installed in residential complexes this year.

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