Burning issueAnother firefighter has been lost in a fire. He was trying to put out a blaze alone early Tuesday morning, but he died because of an accidental fall.
The firefighter belonged to a regional crew. He and a colleague worked in shifts. If a fire was called in, only one of them had to go.
Considering the poor working conditions that the firefighters have to endure, the accident was hardly unexpected.
“If he was with other firefighters, he could have survived,” his colleagues said. This makes the story even more heartbreaking.
There are 714 one-man fire substations in Korea. They are posted in small administrative regions far away from regular fire stations and 119 security centers.
However, these substations are limited. The firefighters should work in a team, or at least two firefighters need to work together.
Rescuing people from a blaze is almost impossible with just one firefighter.
It is difficult to expect one-person substations to cope.
This time the management of the substations has to be completely reviewed. The basic solution is to increase the number of firefighters.
There needs to be at least three shifts so two people can work in a team.
There are 3,500 firefighters and related public servants in the country, which is only 80 percent of what is needed.
If it is hard to raise the number of staff, the government should consider combining substations and 119 security centers to improve efficiency.
Many of the provincial 119 security centers have fewer than five firefighters.
If that is the case, it is better to merge substations and 119 security centers and operate them more effectively.
If substations are necessary, residents of the area can work as assistant firefighters, another alternative solution.
There are already 100,000 volunteer firefighters in the country. However, these volunteer firefighters often live far from the substations.
A system needs to be set up through which voluntary firefighters and firefighters at the substations can work together.
Local governments should provide administrative and financial support for the system.
We should no longer see stories in the newspapers about firefighters dying from overwork, especially when the circumstances are preventable.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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