Workers are urgently building underground water tanks in narrow alleys in Hà Nội's Ba Đình District to support fire prevention and fighting. 

Apart from training in firefighting skills and optimising the effectiveness of public firefighting models, many residents and local authorities have invested in purchasing, building and installing additional firefighting, rescue, and disaster relief equipment to meet local needs, reported.

Ba Đình District is home to many old streets with narrow, winding alleys, only about 2-3m wide and hundreds of metres long, in which residents live and trade close together.

In these densely populated areas, small alleyways present challenges to firefighters, as specialised firefighting vehicles often cannot access the scenes effectively.

A prime example of these challenges can be found at Alley 515 on Hoàng Hoa Thám Street, Vĩnh Phúc Ward.

This alley, measuring less than 3m in width, extends for over 200m and accommodates a residential population of more than 2,000 people.

The confluence of a high population density and exceedingly narrow alleyways compounds the difficulty of firefighting and rescue efforts in the case of a fire emergency.

Specialised firefighting vehicles struggle to manoeuvre effectively within these tight spaces, emphasising the necessity for alternative measures to ensure public safety.

To address the need for swift and efficient firefighting within these narrow alleys, local authorities, in collaboration with the district's police force, have equipped these areas with many fire extinguishers and water hoses intended for public firefighting.

Underground water tanks to aid firefighting

Moreover, Ba Đình District has introduced a forward-looking plan that involves constructing underground water tanks in communal spaces within these confined alleyways.

These proactive measures are pivotal in bolstering the safety and preparedness of these communities in the face of potential fire hazards.

An ongoing project to construct an underground water tank for fire prevention and firefighting is taking place in Alley 515.

Thiên Minh, a firefighting company, is overseeing the project, which involves repurposing a space previously owned by the Vĩnh Phúc Vegetable Co-operative. This area had gradually deteriorated and remained unused over the years.

The project entails building an underground water tank with a capacity of around 80cu.m.

The Thiên Minh firefighting company is currently implementing expedited construction measures to put the underground tank into use by the end of October this year.

In addition to the water tank, the company has been instructed to install high-capacity water pumps with strong pressure to meet firefighting needs in the residential area.

According to Tạ Nam Chiến, chairman of the Ba Đình People's Committee, there are 45 narrow alleyways in the district where professional firefighting trucks cannot enter.

The district has laid out plans for the construction of 45 underground water tanks in these small alleyways.

Where ground space is available, construction will be promptly initiated to ensure early utilisation, thereby contributing to the safeguarding of residents' lives and property, Chiến said.

Beyond the development of underground water tanks, the district is set to deploy large-capacity pump stations in residential areas with ponds and natural lakes to provide the most convenient water supply for firefighting.

Witnessing the urgent construction of underground water tanks to prevent fires, Lê Thị Kim Chung, a resident living in alley 515, said she had lived here for many years but had never witnessed a major fire. Nevertheless, in recent months, Hà Nội had experienced a series of blazes, leading to concerns among residents in the alley.

They began to question how fire fighting and extinguishing would proceed if a fire broke out, especially when specialised vehicles couldn't access the narrow alleys.

Ba Đình District is building 45 underground water tanks in small alleys where firefighting vehicles cannot enter to better serve fire prevention.

Learning about the Ba Đình People's Committee's initiative to build the underground water tank for firefighting had brought her peace of mind.

"The district's decision to build underground water tanks for firefighting in narrow alleys is a very creative and flexible approach, born out of the leadership's concern for safeguarding people's lives and properties," Chung said.

"In particular, the building of underground tanks does not affect the living space of residents, so it is supported by many people. I hope the construction will be completed soon to put the water tanks into use."

Technology application

The district has dedicated around VNĐ300 million to install 16 early fire detection warning systems. These cutting-edge systems offer a crucial advantage by swiftly notifying fire forces of potential fires within a mere 6 seconds, delivering precise location data via phone messages and calls. These systems boast direct integration with the fire prevention and fighting police force of Ba Đình District.

Lieutenant Colonel Trương Văn Dương, head of the district's Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Force, emphasised that these technological applications would improve firefighting effectiveness.

The early fire detection warning systems would significantly reduce response time, ensuring that emergency teams could promptly initiate firefighting efforts rather than spending valuable time locating the source of the fire.

It would contribute to mitigating the damages caused by fires and explosions, he said.

In the near future, the district would intensify its awareness campaigns to encourage residents, businesses and local organisations to install early fire detection warning systems.

Thành Công Secondary School is the first establishment to have one of these systems installed.

Recently, many households in the capital city have been taking proactive steps to improve their safety, including adding additional emergency exits and installing exterior staircases on their buildings. They are also willing to invest a considerable amount of money in fire prevention and firefighting equipment for their families.

According to Trương Thị Mị, a resident in Tây Hồ District, each household is spending between VNĐ5-20 million to purchase fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, escape ladders and smoke masks.

She said this investment in protecting her family's lives was quite reasonable, adding that in reality, many people are willing to spend significant sums on clothing and footwear, yet they hesitate when it comes to acquiring fire prevention and firefighting equipment for their homes.

"Everyone needs to alter their perspective to prioritise their own safety, rather than experiencing a fire and then feeling regret," Mị said. — VNS