Bill for fire-equipment thefts lowest in 3 years

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 December, 1998, 12:00am

Housing chiefs say they are winning the battle against vandals and thieves who target fire equipment on public estates, but safety devices worth $4.37 million still went missing this year.

Senior building services engineer of the Housing Department Ho Wing-ip said the damage bill was the lowest in three years, averaging $364,500 a month for replacing or repairing fire extinguishers and hose reel nozzles.

'Safety education and stepped-up monitoring have led to greater awareness of the need for safety. That deters some would-be vandals,' he said.

Public housing estates lost an average of 109 fire extinguishers and 1,022 hose nozzles through damage or theft every month this year. This compares with 451 extinguishers and 1,384 nozzles a month in 1996.

An extinguisher costs $1,000 and the installation cost for a nozzle is $250.

Mr Ho said the department did not know why the equipment was stolen but he said the high-pressure nozzles could have commercial applications.

At the launch of a fire safety campaign in Lok Fu yesterday, Acting Director of Housing Marco Wu Moon-hoi said the department had completed a $200 million scheme to improve fire equipment.

New fire safety leaflets have been issued along with simplified instructions on using fire equipment in emergencies.

The scheme involves 197 buildings on 30 public estates. A joint working group from the housing and fire services departments will be set up next year to expand fire safety education.