Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Taipei City fire department investigates faulty gear

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City's Fire Department promised to conduct a thorough inspection of protective clothing that failed during a drill on Thursday.

The jackets and helmets of two firemen were burned and damaged after about 10 seconds as they took part in a fire drill held in the city’s Shilin District (士林)on Thursday. The firemen were unharmed.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Cheng-de (王正德) condemned the city government yesterday for ignoring firemen’s safety.

“We can’t let our brave firemen risk their lives by using such shoddy equipment. It’s unacceptable,” Wang said.

KMT Taipei City Councilor Chin Li-fang (秦儷舫) urged the department to establish a standard for inspecting outfits and equipment.

“How can our firemen enter a blazing building if they know their clothing is only fire-resistant for 10 seconds?” Chin said.

Hsiung Kuang-hua (熊光華), commissioner of the department, said all of the 718 outfits were purchased two year ago jointly with the National Fire Agency and were checked before acceptance. He promised to send samples of the gear in question to the US or Europe for further inspection.

The commissioner said the department would use older equipment that had passed examination or borrow clothing from other local governments while the investigation is being carried out.

Hsiung said the inspection criteria on the quality of the outfits were established by the National Fire Agency.

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