PM orders infrastructure development for helicopters proposed for firefighting

By Viet Tuan   July 9, 2023 | 08:17 pm PT
PM orders infrastructure development for helicopters proposed for firefighting
Fire at the Asiana apartment building with 19 floors in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City, January 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has instructed relevant agencies to create infrastructure for using helicopters in firefighting and rescue activities.

Besides building helipads, he said command and control centers to operate them need to be set up.

It comes as part of a plan for developing fire safety infrastructure in 2021-30 that was approved on July 7.

It envisages the use of aircraft for firefighting and rescue in the cases of high-rise buildings, vessels on rivers and forest fires.

While the implementation schedule is still not clear, soon the central Police Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting and Rescue and the department in major localities will be prioritized for building helipads and setting up flight command and control centers.

The country has more than 5,600 apartment buildings, and firefighting still depends on trucks.

Its two biggest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, now have aerial fire trucks with ladders that only rise 72 m at most, or equivalent to the 22nd floor of a building.

In HCMC only, there are at least 180 buildings that are higher than 22 floors.

At a meeting with the PM last September HCMC Chairman Phan Van Mai had suggested upgrading firefighting with the use of helicopters and robots.

The plan calls for spending more than VND89.3 trillion (US$3.8 billion) on fire safety and infrastructure by 2030.

The money is expected to come from the government, official development aid, compulsory fire insurance, and donations by individuals and organizations.

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