Police officer gives advice on rope ladders, electric vehicles after Hanoi deadly fire

By Thanh Lam   September 18, 2023 | 04:45 pm PT
Police officer gives advice on rope ladders, electric vehicles after Hanoi deadly fire
A view of an apartment block in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Following a Hanoi apartment fire that killed 56 people last week, Major Nguyen Danh Luan from the city's firefighting police department provided answers to the most-asked questions regarding emergency fire escape.

For how many floors will rope ladders prove to be effective?

People should only purchase rope ladders for lower floors, around floor 3rd, 4th or 5th. However, children will find rope ladders hard to use, as strength would be required to stabilize the ladders when they are tilted or vibrate.

Rope ladders, when used at a height of around 100 m, would entail many risks. Users would likely encounter problems and may fall to their death in a worst case scenario.

Can the wrong type of fire extinguishers make a fire worse?

There are several types of fire extinguishers, for example foam, powder and CO2. Most people use the powder and CO2 types nowadays.

Both the powder and the CO2 types can be used for the four types of fire:

Type A: coming from solids like wood, garment or rubber

Type B: coming from liquids like gasoline, oil or chemical

Type C: coming from gases like methane or acetylene

Type D: coming from electrical devices with low voltages

For electrical fires, people should use CO2 extinguishers as they would not damage the devices like the powder type does.

CO2 extinguishers are more appropriate in enclosed spaces, but not so for outdoors, as CO2 is easily dissipated in the air.

If the wrong types of extinguishers are used, they would not be effective in putting out the fires, but they would also not make them worse.

How should electric vehicles be charged at apartment buildings?

For apartments and families with electric vehicles, the charging areas must be situated near the entrances, well-ventilated, and away from parking spaces for cars and motorbikes. There should be someone to watch the place 24/7. People should not charge their vehicles right after getting back, and building management should determine a time period at night when vehicles can no longer be charged.

Owners of electric vehicles should maintain them regularly and replaced damaged components with legitimate ones. People should not modify their vehicles too much to prevent the batteries from getting overloaded.

Should people buy fire extinguishers and respirator masks?

For apartments and houses, keeping fire extinguishers and respirator masks is necessary. Families should also purchase hammers, axes and other tools to cut metal, as well as early fire warning systems, in order to detect fires early and destroy obstacles to escape when needed.

When people buy extinguishers and respirators, they should go to reputable fire prevention service businesses. Upon buying items, people should check for certificates of origin and certificates of quality, among other relevant documentations.

For fire extinguishers, people need to see if there is a valid warranty sticker, if the extinguisher's weight matches with what's written on the husk, if the seal remains intact, etc...

If the extinguisher has already been in use, people must regularly evaluate its state, at least once a month. People should also weight the extinguisher to see if its mass is reduced during use, to see if it needs to be refilled or replaced.

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