A firefighting exercise in Hanoi (Phoro: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Fire prevention police across Vietnam have issued warnings on the use of fire, electricity and petrol during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Hanoi People’s Committee has asked the city’s fire prevention police to heighten fire prevention plans and monitor locations at high fire risk.

About 4,000 fire accidents occurred in Vietnam last year, killing 96, injuring 203 and incurring losses of 2 billion VND (88,000 USD), the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper reported. In Hanoi alone, 20 people died in 820 fire accidents and explosions. Half of the incidents occurred at home. Most of the victims died from inhaling toxic fumes.

High demand for new electric equipment and home power lines at this time of the year is one of the factors leading to fires in the city, said Nguyen Dang Thien, deputy head of the Safety Management Department of Electricity Vietnam (EVN) in Hanoi.

The cold weather in the northern area has led to people lighting fires with scrap wood in the streets throughout the city, many of them near power poles and wiring, Thien added.

“If these wires catch fire, the consequences will be unbearable,” he said.

Determined to reduce the number of fire accidents in the city, the HCM City People’s Committee has told fire prevention police to shake-up their approach.

Nguyen Thanh Huong, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Firefighting Police, said that he aimed to reduce major fire accidents and those caused by power malfunctions by 10 percent.

Fire prevention police in other localities, including the provinces of Kon Tum, Bac Ninh, Gia Lai and Phu Tho, said they had inspected big markets at high risk.  

At this time of the year, the amount of goods has doubled, even tripled to serve demand. Most are made from flammable material, including incense, candles, and votive offerings such as clothes and banknotes made from paper.

The power systems at these markets are mostly degraded since they were installed more than a decade ago, creating a risk of power failures and electrical explosions.

But more often than not, kiosk owners have a tendency to place their goods outside their kiosks to expand their space, sometimes blocking the way to firemen and their equipment.

Tran Huu Doan, vice head of the management team of Viet Tri Market (Phu Tho province), said the team had frequently reminded kiosk owners to remove obstructing goods and to buy fire extinguishers. 

“We have also added some fire extinguishers and water pipelines to the market,” he said.

Tran Van Tu, head of the Pleiku Trade Centre’s management board, said he had warned traders not to stock firecrackers, alcohol and petrol, and not to burn incense inside the centre.

“We have also hung banners and signs asking customers not to smoke inside the centre,” he said. – VNA