Deaths prompt karaoke alert

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 1996, 12:00am

Karaoke lounge managers have been warned to keep fire exits clear and make sure safety equipment is in good condition.

Hong Kong's Fire Services Department also said yesterday that safety checks should prevent any similar tragedy happening in the territory.

There are more than 300 karaoke lounges in Hong Kong, licensed by municipal councils or the Home Affairs Department.

A karaoke bar is treated as a restaurant or private club.

A fire service spokesman said: 'Our department plays a part in recommending whether to give a karaoke bar a licence or not.

'Depending upon its size, we shall require an operator to install a sprinkler system, manual fire alarms and a prescribed number of fire blankets, exit signs, emergency lights and fire extinguishers.' Surprise checks are conducted to make sure safety precautions have been maintained.

Fire-fighting gear is checked at least once a year, the spokesman said.

He said most operators had been co-operative, but could not give figures for those which had not.

He said: 'We shall urge the operators to keep the emergency exits clear and unlocked to ensure the safety of their guests in case of a fire.

'We also want to advise the operators to take note of any possible fire hazards in their premises and make sure their fire-fighting equipment is properly maintained,' he said.