The Housing Department has been urged to improve fire-safety management in its buildings after a survey found standards are higher in private housing. A poll by the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong also found public estates have an 'unacceptable' number of false alarms. Party vice-chairman Ip Kwok-him called on the department to work with estate managers to raise fire-safety standards. The party has conducted an annual survey of fire-safety standards in residential buildings since 1998. In a telephone poll in December of 860 people - 487 living in public estates and the rest in private housing - only 57 per cent of public tenants said fire doors were kept closed as required compared with 79 per cent in private homes. In public housing more than 44 per cent said there were frequent false alarms compared with 19 per cent of private residents. More than 21,000 alarms answered by the fire services last year were false - well over half the 35,000-odd calls attended. Mr Ip said the number of false alarms in public housing was unacceptable and a waste of time and manpower. 'People's awareness of fire safety is still not sufficient,' Mr Ip said. Many public-housing residents kept fire doors open to improve ventilation, he said. Just over 21 per cent of respondents in the poll said rubbish blocking fire escapes was still a problem, compared with nearly 66 per cent in 1998. Nine people died and more than 400 people were injured in fires last year.