(23 December) Fearing the recurrence of the deadly 2009 New Year nightclub fire, officials will station 35 fire trucks across Bangkok during the New Year celebration to respond to any emergency.
Many of the firetrucks would be stationed close to crowded areas in Bangkok, such as the venue for countdown events at Siam Paragon and Central World shopping malls; dense residential areas; and nightclubs district, said Mr. Pichai Kriangwattanasiri, director of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM)
“The climate is cold and dry at the moment,” Mr. Pichai told our correspondent, “It increases the risk of fire incidents”.
160 DDPM officials would be assigned to man the firetrucks, with the ratio of average 5 DDPM officials per firetrucks, to guarantee competent rescue operations, Mr. Pichai added.
The DDPM director also warned the tourists who plan to celebrate the arrival of year 2014 at nightclubs to stay vigilant of their surroundings.
“Visitors should see how many emergency fire exits there are, whether they are adequate,” Mr. Pichai said, “They should also see whether fire extinguishers are available”.
Furthermore, nightclub goers are advised to take careful notice of the buildings’ structure, such as the material of the wall and the density of the crowd inside the venues. Mr. Pichai said these efforts would help prevent the repetition of the blaze at Bangkok’s Zantika Club on the early hours of 1 January 2009 which killed at least 66 people.
The fire broke out when the performing musicians launched flares at the direction of the ceiling as part of the entertainment. The foam-plastered walls and ceilings were quickly engulfed in the blaze, court investigation found, and the fire exits could not accommodate the stampede of panicked survivors.
Mr. Pichai added that citizens can notify the DDPM of any emergency via the hotline 1555, which is operational 24 hours a day.
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