Austria helps Vietnam improve its capacity to fight fires

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A police officer without proper equipment at a gas station fire in Hanoi on June 3.

The Ministry of Public Security has received the last batch of firefighting equipment under a project funded by Austria's official development assistance (ODA), the government website has reported.

The final installment included 17 firefighting vehicles, two of which have 32-meter ladders, two rescue fire trucks and 82 sets of firefighting equipment.

In total, the ministry's Firefighting and Rescuing Police Department has received 57 fire trucks, four rescue fire trucks, 1,163 sets of fire fighting equipment and 82 sets rescue diving equipment.

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According to Do Van Son, director of the Firefighting and Rescuing Police Department, these are modern firefighting and rescue vehicles and equipment manufactured by the Austrian Rosenbauer International Company.

The number of fire trucks provided by the project is equal to ten percent of the total fire trucks in Vietnam. They have been distributed to relevant agencies in big cities, crowded residential areas and industrial parks.

The project, which also provided eight training sessions for firefighters and rescuers, cost 15.9 million euros (US$20.8 million).

Austrian Ambassador Georg Heindl said this is one of the projects specially designed for Vietnam to improve its firefighting infrastructure, which is important in preventing human fatalities and property damage, as well as attracting foreign investment.

Lieu. Gen. Tran Anh Dung of the Ministry of Public Security said Vietnam's firefighting agencies are still not equipped with sufficient apparatuses.

He said his ministry expects that the Austrian government will continue to offer ODA for similar projects in the future.

In related news, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to upgrade the country's firefighting forces by 2020.

According to the plan, there will be 12 more firefighting agencies at the provincial level and an additional 198 agencies at lower levels by 2015.

The plan, which will cost more than VND7.5 trillion ($356 million), will also provide 550 new firefighting and rescuing vehicles.

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