Vietnamese face fines for using cell phones in gas stations

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A new decree related to fire safety, effective August 5, recommends fines of up to VND5 million (US$240) for using mobile phones at gas stations and other  fire safety violations.

Anyone found welding metal without taking safety precautions will face a similar fine.

A man was injured in Hanoi last November when he attempted to answer his phone in gas-station restroom and a fire broke out.

Researchers have found out that high-frequency electric waves can spark off fires in gas stations due to the presence of petroleum vapor in the air.

The decree also recommends a fine of VND100,000-200,000 ($4.8-9.6) for carrying lighters, matches, cell phones, and flammable devices into banned areas.

The fine goes up to VND500,000 for using fire and heat devices without maintaining a safe distance.

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Nguyen Viet Cuong of the Fire Fighting and Rescue Department admitted some provisions in the decree would be hard to implement due to a lack of fire safety standards and personnel.

"We will advise the ministry [of public security] on specific action against the shortcomings," he added.

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