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.
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.
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
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.