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Young firefighter's life not lost in vain

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-10 10:25

Firefighters deserve better protection

Yao Weijun, the young firefighter who died trying to save a 95-year-old woman, is not the only hero of his kind, as more than 200 firefighters have lost their lives since 2000. Of course, these heroes deserve the highest respect for their ultimate sacrifice. But more importantly, they deserve advanced firefighting gear and training so as to not become the victims of fires.

The lessons learnt from the deaths of young firefighters in the Tianjin blast in 2015 and the heart-breaking scene of two young firefighters being blown out of a Shanghai mansion by a deadly blaze in early 2014 should prompt the authorities to increase the spending on firefighting equipment to protect precious lives.

Developed countries are reported to spend about 0.26 percent of GDP on their fire departments, with Japan allocating about 0.33 percent of its GDP to its fire department. In contrast, China's first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai spend only about 0.1 percent of local GDP on firefighting, while most other regions' budget for their fire departments is about 0.05 percent of local GDP.

In fact, Japan has been using robots on the frontline of firefighting since 1980s, while other developed countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom use drones. Also, GPS can be used effectively to position firefighters who lose contact with their teammates during rescue operations.

As the world's second-largest economy, China should spend more on the fire department to catch up with the developed countries, and take effective measures to protect firefighters' lives.

Ku Ma, a writer with China Daily

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