We must set aside a special day to remember our brave firemen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2008, 12:00am

I am sure we have all been saddened by the tragic fire at Cornwall Court, Mong Kok, which claimed four lives (including two firemen) and also injured 55 people.

I have some suggestions for the Fire Services Department in addition to any improvement measures officials come up with.

I think all firemen who are at the front line of the fire and will be involved in attempting the rescue of people trapped by a blaze, should be equipped with some form of radio, so they can communicate with the officer in charge.

This will enable them to inform the officer of any changes in the fire, and if any reinforcements are needed.

Also, there must be a way in which a fireman could carry a spare lightweight oxygen mask, so that someone found in a burning building could be given oxygen immediately, without the fireman having to take off his mask.

The department must ensure that during a fire they have enough breathing equipment on the scene as back-up that can be transferred quickly to a trouble spot in the blaze, when it is clear that it is needed.

The government must step up its campaign of educating the public. There needs to be a greater awareness among Hong Kong citizens about the precautions they can take to prevent fires.

They also need to be aware of the dos and don'ts when a fire breaks out. The fact is that thanks to the quality and professionalism of our Fire Services Department, Hong Kong remains one of the safest cities in the world.

However, the work of a fireman is dangerous and sometimes there are casualties. I think as a society we have to recognise the courage, team spirit, professionalism and devotion to duty of our firemen.

The best way to do that is for the government to officially establish a Fireman's Day, so that we can recognise the important role they play and remember those who died doing their duty.

I also think this would be a morale-booster for our firemen.

Barry Kwok, Wong Tai Sin