Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 16:
Public Order
Fight Crime Committee
Police Force
Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC)
Customs and Excise
Narcotics Division
Independent Commission Against Corruption
Government Laboratory
Immigration Department
Fire Services
Correctional Services
Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance
Civil Aid Service
Government Flying Service
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Table of Contents Constitution and Administration The Legal System The Economy Financial and Monetary Affairs Commerce and Industry Employment Education Health Food Safety, Environmental Hygiene, Agriculture and Fisheries Social Welfare Housing Land, Public Works and Utilities Transport The Environment Travel and Tourism Public Order Communications, the Media and Information Technology Religion and Custom Recreation, Sport and the Arts Population and Immigration History Appendices PRINT
Fire Services

The Fire Services Department fights fires, protects life and property in the event of fires and other calamities, provides emergency ambulance services and gives fire protection advice to the public.

The department has 8 656 uniformed and 596 civilian members and is one of the world's finest fire brigades with well-trained personnel, advanced communications systems, and modern equipment and appliances.

The department responded to 33 268 fire calls, 21 383 special service calls and 575 666 ambulance calls in 2006.

Fire-fighting and Rescue

Of the 33 268 fire calls received in 2006, 14 were classified as major fires, or No.3 alarms and above. Most of the outbreaks occurred during the preparation of foodstuffs. There were 2 186 such cases in 2006. Careless handling or disposal of smoking materials was the second major cause of fires, accounting for 1 889 outbreaks. Electrical faults accounted for 759. False alarms, caused mainly by faulty alarm systems or poor positioning of such systems, contributed to about 66 per cent of the total number of fire calls.

The department also provides a wide range of rescue services for mishaps such as traffic accidents, people trapped in lifts or locked in rooms, gas leaks, house collapses, flooding, landslides, industrial accidents and attempts by people to jump from heights. The department handled 21 383 special service calls in 2006.

Ambulance Services

The Ambulance Command handled 575 666 calls during the year, or 1 577 calls per day. Its fleet of ambulances is fully equipped and manned at paramedic level.

The department continues to train front-line firemen to become first responders to provide basic life saving support to casualties and patients ahead of the arrival of ambulance crews. During the year, first responders dealt with 25 223 cases in which people needed urgent help.


The Fire Services Communications Centre, manned round the clock, is responsible for mobilising all fire-fighting and ambulance resources to provide efficient and effective fire and ambulance services to the community. The centre is also responsible for receiving complaints about fire hazards and dangerous goods. It acts as an emergency coordinator for other government departments and public utilities during large-scale emergencies or major calamities.

The centre fully migrated to a sophisticated telecommunication and computer integrated mobilising system — the Third Generation Mobilising System — in June 2005 to improve the efficiency of fire-fighting and rescue operations.

Fire Safety

The Fire Safety Command draws up fire safety policies and formulates fire safety measures for buildings and mass transit systems. It also devotes much of its efforts to upgrading arrangements and procedures to protect old buildings from fires and to sharpen people's awareness of fire safety.

The Commercial Buildings and Premises Division enforces the Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance with the aim of upgrading fire safety measures in prescribed commercial premises and specified commercial buildings. A total of 10 613 building inspections were conducted in 2006. As a result, 823 Fire Safety Directions and 4 766 Fire Safety Improvement Directions were issued to 5 589 owners or occupiers of these premises and buildings.

Pending implementation of the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance, the Building Improvement and Support Division continues to inspect composite buildings built between the 1973 and 1987 to improve fire safety in those buildings and to advise owners and occupiers on ways to better protect their buildings.

A Building Safety Loan Scheme, administered by the Director of Buildings, has also been established to provide financial assistance to owners to carry out building safety as well as fire safety improvement works either on a voluntary basis or as required by law. A total of 3 573 applications for such aid have been approved.

The New Projects Division, in cooperation with the Buildings Department and other departments, is responsible for vetting new building plans including those for mass transit systems, tunnels, bridges and the airport. It also defines the fire protection needs of particular premises. A total of 12 488 building plans were vetted during the year.

The Railway Development Strategy Division defines and scrutinises the fire safety requirements of new railway infrastructure projects. Tests were carried out on fire service installations at the new Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, scheduled to go into operation in 2007.

The Community Relations Section is responsible for improving the public's knowledge of fire safety and for coordinating publicity on fire prevention in collaboration with other government departments and the District Fire Safety Committees. In 2006, a total of 1 713 fire drills and 5 942 fire safety talks and seminars were conducted by the section and fire stations.

To enlist more people to assist in reporting fire hazards and disseminating fire prevention messages, the Fire Safety Ambassador Scheme has been extended to 335 organisations. These include schools, public transport companies, major property management companies, government departments, homes for the elderly and hotels. A total of 12 815 people were trained as Fire Safety Ambassadors during the year. In addition, Fire Safety Ambassador Honorary Presidents( Associations have been set up in 14 districts with 189 community leaders appointed as honorary presidents since the scheme was set up in January 2005.

A major fire prevention campaign focusing on household fire safety was launched on December 10 featuring a series of publicity activities, including dissemination of fire safety messages on television and radio, and fire station open days. A mobile publicity unit promoting fire safety also toured schools and public housing estates.

The Licensing and Certification Command determines the fire safety needs of various types of licensed premises, as well as dangerous goods stores and vehicles, to ensure proper protection for the public. Fire Services personnel conducted 168 880 fire safety inspections and issued 2 488 Fire Hazard Abatement Notices. There were 486 prosecutions for contravention of the Fire Services Ordinance, the Dangerous Goods Ordinance and the Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance, which resulted in fines totalling $1.3 million. Direct prosecutions for obstructing fire escape routes in buildings resulted in 44 convictions and fines totalling $251,101. Prosecutions for illicit fuel activities resulted in 103 convictions; the maximum penalty was $10,000 and imprisonment for four months.

The Fire Service Installation Task Force has stepped up monitoring efforts to improve building fire safety and create stronger public awareness of the need to maintain fire service installations and equipment in buildings. A total of 54 120 building inspections were made during the year. The task force also monitors the performance of registered fire service installation contractors and made 505 random checks. Legal action was being taken against five contractors who had contravened the regulations.

Appliances and Equipment

In 2006, the department had 856 fire appliances, ambulances and supporting vehicles. A fleet of 21 fireboats provided fire protection and rescue services within Hong Kong waters.

New Stations and Depots

The department continued to plan and build fire stations and ambulance depots to cope with the city's growing development and service needs and to adhere to the Government's policy of providing the fastest response possible to emergencies. During the year, a new fire station in Kowloon Tong and two ambulance depots in Mong Kok and Kwai Chung were commissioned.

Public Liaison Group

The Public Liaison Group was set up in 1994 to encourage public participation in monitoring and improving the delivery of emergency fire and ambulance services. Thirty people from all walks of life were randomly chosen from among 77 applicants to form the group for 2006.

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