SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 7, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters announced that they will set up comprehensive measures to deal with fire or other disaster cases in COVID-19 facilities, including residential treatment centers, hospitals dedicated to infectious disease, or testing clinics.
Since December 30 last year, the Headquarters has been fully ready to handle possible emergencies and implement the measures. Under normal circumstances, they regularly watch over to prevent fire accidents. Once a fire breaks out, firefighters extinguish it under their fire chief’s leadership while temporary clinics and shelters are set up on-site.
The measures aim to proactively handle incidents, such as a fire in COVID-19 facilities, leading to further spread of the coronavirus and fatality.
As of January 5, the Seoul Metropolitan Government runs 36 residential treatment centers, 12 hospitals dedicated to infectious disease, and 82 testing clinics.
Under the comprehensive measures, the Headquarters’ patrol and on-site monitoring activities will be intensified for COVID-19 facilities. In addition to the number of users in each site, the layout and other structural traits will be checked to identify how to approach in case of fire. Fire passages will be secured in advance to see where to park fire engines.
The facilities to be added in the future will have enhanced fire safety management through joint pre-check.
The response standards and the procedures were mostly prepared by the COVID-19 task force, which has been in operation since the deadly virus broke out. The Headquarters and each fire station have a task force working 24/7 to monitor and communicate with relevant parties such as county offices and public health centers.
Once a fire or any other disaster is found in any of these facilities based on the standards after an emergency call is made, fire stations and relevant organizations will be immediately informed, and disinfecting vehicles, dedicated paramedics, and group transport vehicles.
There will be separate places for patients. Temporary clinics and shelters will be set up at least two meters from the facilities to ensure safety of the patients and prevent further contagion.
While seriously ill patients will be carried in a negative pressure gurney by dedicated paramedics to a hospital designated by the COVID-19 bed allocation team, other patients with mild symptoms to local temporary clinics in a mini-bus in cooperation with the city government.
Choi Tae-young, Deputy Mayor for Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster said, “The comprehensive measures aim at saving people’s lives and preventing the spread of the coronavirus at the same time by taking prompt actions in case of emergency. We will fully operate our disaster response system and try our best to protect patients and prevent further contagion.”