Hanoian tube-house dwellers create their own emergency fire exits

Created 01 May 2022
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Households in old apartment buildings across Thanh Xuan and Ba Dinh districts in Hanoi have voluntarily set up emergency fire escapes from their barricaded balconies.



There are approximately 1,579 old apartment buildings in Hanoi built between 1960 and 1994, and prior to 1954.
Thanh Xuan Bac Ward, Thanh Xuan District, is home to 66 old buildings, the majority of which are five stories tall. Most have overhangs that range in width from two to 20 square meters and are supported by iron frames known colloquially as "tiger cages".
According to Nguyen Hoang Diep, chairman of Thanh Xuan Bac Ward People's Committee, after more than a year of government campaigning, more than 3,350 households living in old houses have agreed to install emergency fire exits. Local ward officials are encouraging 300 other households to do the same.


On the morning of April 27, 2022, Do Duy Van, party secretary of Thanh Xuan Bac Ward's residential area 11, cut open the emergency exit of an apartment on the third floor of building G1 on 27 Khuat Duy Tien Street.


People have been mobilized by the residential group, the ward People's Committee, and ward police to purchase ladders and ropes in the event of a fire. Each household pays between VND300,000-400,000 ($13.06-17.42).
Building G1 in Thanh Xuan Bac Ward has 70 households. Following the mobilization of local officials, all of the families who live here have installed emergency fire exits.


Mai Lan Huong, a resident of room 303 on the third floor of building G1, stated that her family had been mobilized more than a week prior, but due to a scheduling conflict, she only had the rope installed today.


Nguyen Thi Tam, a room 202 resident, stated that her family has lived in this apartment since 1989.
Initially, the house was 37 square meters in size. As the children married and the family grew in size, they welded iron cages together to make more usable space. When the government was called in, the family was among the first to agree to the installation of an emergency fire exit. Tam's three-generation family knows how to escape through the iron cage's opening and where to find the key to unlock the cage door. She also purchased a large load-bearing rope to make swinging down easier.


About eight kilometers away, Le Xuan Thao's family, who live on the third floor of the B1 building in the Giang Vo neighborhood of Ba Dinh District, opened three emergency exits at once.
"Despite the fact that there are only two people living here, we installed many emergency exits in the event of a fire so we can easily get out," he said as he opened the window, which also serves as an emergency exit next to the dining table.


The frame structure determines the size of each emergency exit; typically, one person can pass through.
Nguyen Ngoc Chien, chairman of the People's Committee of Giang Vo Ward, said his neighborhood has 29 old apartments with over 700 "tiger cages".
After the ward campaigned, more than 500 residents volunteered to install emergency exits.


In addition to the emergency exit, the residential group provides each floor with two fire extinguishers and urges residents to purchase rope and ladders to escape in case of an emergency.
Five major fires have raged in Hanoi in the last ten days, causing extensive damage to both people and property, including a fire in Dong Da District that killed five people and injured two others on April 21, 2022.
Hanoi recorded 355 fires in 2021, killing 12 people and causing VND26.5 billion (over $1.1 million) in damage.


Source: VNE

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