Crisis centre

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 September, 1998, 12:00am

The final date for the public to respond to the Government's Public Consultation on Fire Safety in Private Buildings has passed. Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong are still a long way from their peak. Is there a way in which the two issues could be tackled in one? Tokyo and Taipei, both prone to natural disasters in the form of at least fires, earthquakes and typhoons, each have long-established and publicised Disaster Preparedness Centres, where members of the public and visitors can experience the devastating effects of nature and learn what steps should be taken in the home and workplace to diminish the effects of a crisis. Visitors experience simulated earthquakes and learn how to take refuge and deal with the threat of subsequent fire: they crawl through smoke-filled corridors, learning how to avoid asphyxiation during a conflagration.

The educational benefits to the community are self-evident. Such a facility would be both entertaining and educational, potentially life-saving to schoolchildren, a useful adjunct to the Government's Young Fire Ambassadors scheme.

If the Government was minded to build and support a Disaster Preparedness Centre in Hong Kong, not only would the public be better educated about fire safety, but it could also become an educational tourist attraction for those already here.

BRUCE WIMMER Regional General Manager Hong Kong/China Pinkerton (Asia) Limited