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​Safety equipment sells like hot cakes in Saigon after deadly apartment fire

​Safety equipment sells like hot cakes in Saigon after deadly apartment fire

Sunday, March 25, 2018, 17:01 GMT+7

Sales of fire safety equipment have skyrocketed in Ho Chi Minh City following a serious apartment building fire that killed 13 people this week.

Many people in the southern metropolis, most of whom are living in apartment complexes, have started looking for masks, rope ladders, fire blankets, and other safety gear.

The demand for these objects has increased rapidly after a deadly inferno broke out at the Carina Plaza apartment complex in District 8 on Friday, claiming 13 lives and injuring nearly 100 others.

Although there are over 1,000 businesses selling fire safety equipment across Ho Chi Minh City, local residents are still uncertain of how to choose to the best gear as well as how to properly use them.

Long, who is residing on the 12th floor of an old apartment building in Binh Thanh District, said he had spent his weekend browsing for rope ladders and fire escape belts at some nearby stores.

“The Carina Plaza inferno alerted me to how necessary it is to familiarize myself with the fire safety gear,” Long stated.

A gas mask is seen in this photo: Photo: Tuoi Tre
A gas mask is seen in this photo: Photo: Tuoi Tre

Thanh Nga, a resident in Phu Nhuan District, has purchased a set of ladders for VND100,000 (US$4.4) per meter.

Thuy, who lives in an apartment complex in District 8, said she and her husband had already bought four gas masks at VND400,000 ($17.5) apiece and fire blankets at VND550,000 ($24) on Friday evening.

“These objects are for our safety. I hope we will never have to use them, however,” Thuy remarked.

According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Luong Nguyen Hoang, director of the 4/10 Fire Equipment Center, which is managed by the municipal fire department, far more buyers have visited the store since the Carina Plaza tragedy.

“This is quite a knee-jerk reaction. People often rush to buy fire safety equipment following a conflagration. Such demand will fall shortly,” Hoang elaborated.

Aside from standard gear, some people are willing to pay higher for products of foreign brands.

Binh, a shopkeeper in Binh Thanh District, advertised a set of fire escape ropes and ladders made by South Korean firm Seohan, which was priced at VND4.3 million ($189).

A resident holds an emergency hammer. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A resident holds an emergency hammer. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Despite the high price, the product is preferred by many buyers, Binh added.

At another store in District 12, a seller introduced several escape ropes produced by DooSung, a South Korean brand, and Nikawa, a Japanese company.

Many residents are also interested in emergency hammers, escape backpacks and jackets imported from the Unites States.

Some others choose to pay VND6 million ($263) to VND10 million ($439) for local businesses to install the safety gear at their homes.

Experts have warned against counterfeit and low-quality products, advising residents to buy from trusted shops and pay attention to their origin.

It is highly recommended that citizens learn how to use safety equipment, Senior Lt. Col. Hoang said, adding that training sessions would be organized at local apartment buildings to raise awareness of fire and explosion hazards.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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