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2007 Year-end Review of the Fire Services Department

Fire-fighting and Rescue Service Video Fire-fighting and Rescue Service

  1. In 2007, there were a total of 31 638 fire calls, representing a decrease of 4.9% (i.e. 1 630 calls) as against 33 268 in 2006. Also, the number of No.3 or above alarm fires dropped from 14 in 2006 to eight last year.

  2. Last year, 94.32% of building fires were handled within the graded response time as pledged by the Department, i.e. at least 92.5% of such calls were handled within the graded response time.

  3. Fires claimed a total of 16 lives last year. Besides, 327 persons were injured at fires, and 2 835 rescued. A regrettable case was the No.3 alarm fire at QPL Industrial Building, Texaco Road, Tsuen Wan, on May 22, 2007, in which Fireman Wong Ka-hei lost his life in the course of duty.

  4. Nine persons died in residential building fires. In this connection, we stepped up publicity to remind the community of building fire safety, and “Building Fire Safety for All” is the theme of the fire prevention campaign in 2007/08, with the slogan “Building Fire Safety is hinged upon Sufficient Fire Prevention Facilities”.

  5. The total number of special service calls was 22 083, representing a slight increase of 3.27% (i.e. 700 cases) as against 21 383 in 2006.

  6. Despite that the number of fires is on the decline, the work of frontline fire personnel of the fire stations in various districts was by no means easier. In addition to usual duties of fire hazard inspection, fire service installation inspection, licence compliance inspection and fire prevention, a total of 38 917 counts of First Responder service were delivered by frontline fire personnel last year and 28 451 number of patients were treated. Amongst them, 25 patients who had had no breath or pulse were able to regain their breath or pulse. There is one incident that is worth mentioning. Members of the Operational Commands conducted inspections of 203 markets in Hong kong within two days subsequent to the No.3 alarm fire in Hau Tak Market, Tseung Kwan O on March 29 last year, so as to enhance public awareness of fire prevention.

  7. We continued to step up publicity and education for prevention of hill fires. Fire Safety Ambassadors from different districts worked with members of the Conservancy Association, Heung Yee Kuk and the rural committees in launching the “Zero Hill Fire” Scheme. They distributed promotional leaflets at graveyards during Ching Ming Festival and Chung Yeung Festival. The scheme proved to be fairly successful, and the target of “Zero Hill Fire” during Ching Ming Festival was achieved. Despite that there were a total of 101 cases of hill fire during Chung Yeung Festival, 113 villages among the 122 participating villages of the scheme had managed to hit the target of “Zero Hill Fire”. As such, we will work harder for the “Zero Hill Fire” goal during Ching Ming Festival and Chung Yeung Festival in the future.

  8. In recent years, Hong Kong has been active in hosting major international events, such as the WTO Ministerial Meeting and the upcoming Olympic Equestrian Events as well as the East Asian Games. With this in mind, the Department is enhancing its members’ capabilities in handling major incidents in terms of ability in handling contingency matters and in carrying out search and rescue operations. Apart from sending fire and ambulance personnel of different ranks overseas to receive special rescue training, the Department have been actively purchasing heavy duty search and rescue equipment to better equip ourselves in our ability in carrying out major rescue operations, such as coping with incidents involving collapse of buildings. Later, we will display some of our newly acquired heavy duty search and rescue equipment and a major device for decontamination of radiological, biological and chemical pollutants at our West Kowloon Rescue Training Centre.

    Demonstration of decontamination of RBC pollutants Demonstration of decontamination of RBC pollutants

    Demonstration of Heavy Duty Search and Rescue Equipment Demonstration of Heavy Duty Search and Rescue Equipment

    Demonstration of Crash Fire Tender R32 Demonstration of Crash Fire Tender R32

    Demonstration of Iso-chamber System Demonstration of Iso-chamber System

  9. To tie in with the commissioning of the Shenzhen Bay Control Point, a fire station at Shenzhen Bay is already in service. Fire appliances and ambulances have been deployed to the Shenzhen Bay fire station to provide round-the-clock fire and ambulance services at this control point, where the co-location arrangement is adopted.

Fire Protection Video Fire Protection

  1. As regards fire protection, we conducted a total of 172 492 inspections last year, which included acceptance tests on fire equipment and installations, inspections of food premises, schools, child care centres, places of public entertainment, handling of complaints about dangerous goods and checks on fire escapes and ventilation systems.

  2. Fire investigations conducted by the Department have revealed that malfunctioning of fire equipment and installations in buildings as well as improper maintenance were main causes for fires which had resulted in major property losses or even casualties. Proper installation of fire equipment in buildings is an effective measure against fire, so that losses caused by fire can be contained and fire can be prevented in the very first place. In this regard, the Department has deployed additional manpower to step up building inspections with a view to ensuring that fire equipment and installations in buildings are in good order.

  3. With the implementation of the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance since the first of July last year, the Department, together with the Buildings Department, have inspected 552 old composite buildings and domestic buildings, and issued a total of 6 442 Fire Safety Directions. It is our belief that improvement of fire equipment and installations will offer greater protection to the life and property of residents in these buildings.

  4. Good progress was made in improving the fire safety of old commercial buildings over the past year. During the period, inspections of 150 prescribed commercial premises and 100 specified commercial buildings were conducted. A total of 804 Fire Safety Directions and 4 705 Fire Safety Improvement Directions were issued.

  5. As regards licensing and certification, over the past year, the Department actively supported the “Be the Smart Regulator” Programme launched by the Government for business friendliness. In this regard, measures were devised to reduce the cost of members of the industry in respect of regulation compliance. These measures included: formulation of service pledge for handling licenses of different types, streamlining and restructuring of licensing procedures and enhanced communication with members of the industry through business liaison groups etc. In addition, the Department started carrying out a Customer Service Survey from July 2007 onwards. A Customer Service Questionnaire Form is being attached to each issued Fire Services Certificate to invite applicant’s feedback on our service standards.

  6. We continued to promote the culture of fire safety within the community. The Fire Safety Ambassador Scheme, which has been launched for around 10 years, has been remarkably well received. At present, a total of 88 682 members from all walks of life have joined the scheme to become Fire Safety Ambassadors. To further promote the scheme, Fire Safety Ambassador Honorary President Associations have been established in each of the 18 districts since 2005, and a total of 264 Honorary Presidents have been appointed. It is hoped that with the assistance and financial support of community leaders, together with their rich experience in community services and extensive community relations, the culture of fire safety can be further promoted at the community level.

  7. In keeping up with our past efforts, we continued to promote fire safety through various activities, which included large-scale fire safety carnivals, open days, fire drills, talks and slogan awards, etc., in order to have direct communication with the community in an interactive manner. Furthermore, we disseminated the message of fire safety to various strata of the community via diverse channels, such as television publicity, radio broadcasting and the internet. We will continue to step up fire publicity by working closely with District Fire Safety Committees.

Ambulance Service Video Ambulance Service

  1. Last year, the total number of ambulance calls was 611 707, i.e. a daily average of 1 676. Among which, the number of emergency calls was 573 657, representing an increase of 6.25%, or 33 754 calls. The number of urgent calls was 36 916, representing an increase of 6.17%, or 2 145 calls.

  2. We have achieved our performance pledge in that 92.78% of emergency ambulance calls in 2007 were handled within our target response time of 12 minutes.

  3. In 2006, the Department launched a trial programme on the operation of rapid response vehicles. Vehicles for this purpose were deployed to Tai Po Ambulance Depot, Fanling Ambulance Depot and Yuen Long Ambulance Depot respectively. The major objective of the programme was to allow ambulance officers to take up the role of a Clinical Support Officer to ensure the quality of ambulance service with a view to strengthening frontline management and quality assurance. In 2007, the rapid response vehicles conducted 2 843 inspections and handled 1 937 emergency calls. Among these calls, there were 388 cases, or 20% in which the rapid response vehicles were able to arrive at the incident scene and to offer treatment to the patients earlier than the ambulance or ambulance aid motorcycle. In 2008, we have planned to deploy these vehicles to different areas in a bid to offer the most effective services with our limited resources.

  4. With the completion of the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, the Department is deploying an ambulance at the Lok Ma Chau Crossing to provide emergency ambulance service to members of the public during the operation hours of the border crossing point.

Strengthening Community Services Video Strengthening Community Services

  1. Since its establishment in 2002, the Fire Services Volunteer Team has recruited almost 500 team members. More than 24 000 voluntary service hours have been contributed by the team so far. Moreover, the target group of the “Post-fire Service” Scheme have been extended from public housing estate residents to include senior occupiers of dilapidated private buildings who have financial difficulties, so that more citizens in need will benefit from the scheme. Up till now, the team has assisted 10 families in rebuilding their homes damaged by fire.

  2. Apart from providing voluntary services to the public, the Welfare Section of FSD also formed an “FSD cancer patients’ care and support group” in mid-2007. The group provides information on cancer to our staff. Through meetings and hospital/home visits, group members who have had cancer will share it with colleagues who are fighting against it and encourage them to face their illness in a positive manner. In 2007, the group has paid a total of 22 visits and held four seminars on the caring of cancer patients. By the end of 2007, there are 18 volunteers in the group who provide care and related support services.

  3. As regards community services, FSD has been awarded the title of “Caring Organisation” in 2006-2007 by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service in recognition of its exemplary performance in encouraging voluntary services, employing the disadvantaged groups, establishing partnership and enthusiasm for donations.

  4. Another significant sign of public recognition of our work was the nine awards that we received in the Civil Service Outstanding Service Award Scheme 2007. We were champions in the following three awards, namely the “Departmental Service Enhancement Award”, “Partnership Award” and “Best Public Image Award”. In particular, we have won the “Best Public Image Award” for four consecutive years. These awards should not go to any individuals. In fact, they are exemplifications of the concerted efforts by the whole department and a result of flexible and maximal utilization of limited resources.

  5. We of course take pride in the public recognition and support that we have been enjoying. But, we will never be self-contented. On the contrary, we will continue to look for the upgrading of our service quality and performance standard.

Plans in the Year Ahead Video Plans in the Year Ahead

  1. Subsequent to the Customer Satisfaction Survey on emergency ambulance service in 2006, we have planned to conduct a similar survey on fire-fighting and rescue services with a view to providing more suitable and enhanced services to the public.

  2. Commissioned in 1968, the existing Fire Services Training School (FSTS) in Pat Heung is unable to cope with the current demand in fire training in the light of the continuous development in the past 40 years. We are not even able to compare favourably with other fire brigades in the international community. In view of the physical constraint, it is impossible for us to contemplate any expansion by installing large-scale training facilities in the current school site. Therefore, we are working very fervently with other departments for the development of a new FSTS and all kinds of initial work is in full swing. Hopefully, the new training facilities that we are developing will help meet future challenges by strengthening the fire-fighting and rescue capabilities of our members.

  3. The Public Access Defibrillator and the “Heart Saver Scheme” were first conceived in 2006 and were initially introduced to the property management sector. The purpose is to encourage the sector to provide automatic external defibrillators in public places and we would provide training to their staff so that patients with cardiac arrest can receive effective first aid at scene and their chance of survival can be increased. In the light of positive response, FSD has started to provide automatic external defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training to property management staff and airport security personnel since 2007. In 2007, over 1 400 persons completed the training and were appointed as “Heart Savers”. In 2008, FSD has planned to extend the scheme to elderly homes and the hotel industry by providing training to their staff.

  4. Regarding the Priority Despatch System, we are still assisting the Security Bureau in conducting an in-depth study of the consultancy report and in taking the next step.

  5. We have planned to recruit at least 300 people in 2008/09 to fill vacancies arising from natural wastage.

  6. As to “Qualifications Framework”, FSD is the first government department to conduct a consultancy on the advice of Education Bureau to study and formulate “Specifications of Competency Standards”. Under the framework, there will be different sets of “Specifications of Competency Standards” for the three streams of work, namely Fire, Ambulance and Control. Upon consultation and finalisation of the specifications, FSD will design appropriate training courses according to the specifications for the three streams. We hope that this will provide our staff with multifarious learning ladders and encourage them to embrace life-long learning, enhance their expertise and apply fully what they have learned in building a better future for themselves and providing better quality service to the public.

  7. To further strengthen the command capabilities of our operational personnel at the scene of fire or disaster, we will set up an ‘Incident Command Training Centre’, which will be equipped with an advanced computer training system simulating fire/disaster scenes. It is hoped that more effective command training will be given to the trainees. The Centre will be commissioned this year.

  8. At present, there are 241 ambulances serving the urban area, with an average servicing period of 7.65 years. The Department will replace 35 oldest ambulances by the end of 2008. FSD has liaised with departments concerned to speed up the replacement. The Department has also asked for additional resources to speed up replacement of remaining ambulances.

  9. To enhance business-friendliness, speed up the licensing process and provide more job opportunities, the Department is actively studying the introduction of a Registered Fire Engineer Scheme for the implementation of Third Party Fire Safety Certification. The purpose of the Scheme is to provide prompt certification services by the market in a more flexible manner. The Scheme is under consultation.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


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