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Urban space fire safety gets top priority

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Top officials address the media after the launch of the two fire safety centres in Phnom Penh on January 17.

Urban space fire safety gets top priority

Cambodia has taken key steps to protect its urban spaces from fire hazards. The newly minted National Quality Inspection Centre for Fire Equipment (Nice) and the National Fire Academy of Cambodia (NFAC) herald a new dimension in combating fire hazards and promoting a culture of fire safety in the Kingdom.

Both institutions, managed by the General Commissariat of National Police and operated by Cambodian Fairwind Enterprises Co Ltd, will set the benchmark for fire equipment standards and train professionals in the increasingly challenging sector.

The establishment of the two centres comes at a crucial time as Cambodia experiences robust growth in the construction sector, with high-rise office towers and condominiums continuing to shape the bustling city skyline.

Congested unplanned townships, traffic-choked streets and a lack of sophisticated equipment can pose great challenges to firefighting. Hence, fire safety in urban spaces is gaining greater attention from various stakeholders, service providers and firefighting specialists.

“As everyone can see, the skyline today is completely different from even five years ago. The method of fighting fires has to change alongside this. The main difference is that, of course, buildings are too high for fires to be fought from outside with fire engines, as before.

“The most unsafe thing going on in Cambodia right now is that these high buildings are being designed and constructed without the safety systems in place to fight fires properly. My worry is that buildings built this way will have a fire that cannot be brought under control because of inadequate systems, resulting in a great number of casualties,” Andrew Wallace, vice-president of the Association of Fire Prevention Enterprises of Cambodia, told The Post.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The launch of Nice and NFAC.

Nice sets the national standards for fire safety and carries out inspections, certifying buildings in compliance. It also tests the materials and equipment to be used in construction and fire prevention systems.

NFAC is the academy that trains and certifies workers, professionals and engineers involved in fire safety.

“This means that all staff [who] have a responsibility for fire safety have minimum standards of training and a qualification. [The two centres] will check whether the standards laid down under the Fire Code of Cambodia are met with each type of equipment or material.

“This is very important as a lot of fire safety equipment on sale in Cambodia at the moment is sub-standard and will not work properly. A major source of fire risk is with companies that handle fuel. For this reason, an early focus of NFAC was the fuel industry, so that fuel storage, handling and dispensing can be done in a safe way,” Wallace said.

The facilities, located along Street 598 in Camko City in the capital’s Russei Keo district, were launched earlier this month.

Fire wardens, fire engineers and those connected with the fire safety industry will undergo professional training at NFAC.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Both centres will take fire safety and firefighting to a new level.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Nice will set the benchmark for fire equipment standards.

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