A Visit to the Seoul Emergency Operations Center
Date: October 31, 2011
Venue: Seoul Emergency Operations Center
Today, I have come to meet the people who are working day and night to ensure the safety of the 10 million citizens of Seoul. One of my election pledges was to make this city safer, as I believe the issue of public safety to be of great importance. In particular, after hearing the growing complaints from Seoul citizens regarding the City’s response to the series of floods that occurred last July and the heavy snowfall we received last winter, I have solidified my resolve to prevent such incidents from occurring again this winter, and to transform Seoul into a safer city.
When I visited a shantytown in Yeongdeungpo District, I noticed that the area seemed very susceptible to fire. This is particularly true in Seoul, as it is a metropolitan city with many buildings, such as apartments and high-rises, which are clustered close together. One resident of the shantytown told me that he is living in fear for his life on a daily basis. If a fire breaks out, it is highly likely that all the houses and makeshift shelters would burn down immediately. Now, I believe that rapid response to reports of fire is very important, of course, but it is even more important to prevent such accidents from taking place at all. This winter, we must work hard to ensure that not one single Seoul citizen dies in an accident that could have been prevented. Including both natural and man-made disasters, every conceivable accident that can be prevented should be prevented.
Our system for acquiring information and registering emergency reports from callers seems to be reliable, but accidents need to be tackled efficiently and swiftly on the spot. So, I hope a customized system can be established to quickly respond to any sort of accident in each district and dong administrative area.
Recently, I found that Guro-gu is using a very effective system. This area is quite vulnerable to flooding, but they have largely prevented floods through the establishment of a flood response and prevention team comprised of public officials and residents. It is particularly important for areas like this to have such a well-established system.
Close cooperation with private institutions is important as well, as it is not only public officials who are responsible for responding to accidents. Also, areas that are susceptible to accidents should be protected through education and cooperation.
It is quite remarkable that the Center receives more than 10,000 calls a day, and I heard you get many prank calls as well. But instead of imposing fines for such abuse of the system, I think that awareness campaigns should be conducted more often. In this way, the media plays a crucial role.
I came here today to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication. If time permits, I will visit again. Seoul is home to 10 million residents and 20 million workers, and as all of you are responsible for their safety, I once again, as a representative of the citizens of Seoul, thank you for your support. Let’s join forces in creating a safe city.