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Shanghai Subway Takes Suicide Prevention Measures

Shanghai Metro has employed a team of 382 security guards that have been patrolling platforms throughout the subway system since September 28. One of their main tasks is to prevent suicides.

"They will try to stop any attempt to jump on the tracks and if one happens, the guards will be able to render appropriate first aid," said an official surnamed Zhu from Shanghai Metro.

In previous years, the annual suicide rate on the Shanghai subway system averaged about eight, but that figure had already been reached by June this year.

In another move to curb the disturbing trend, Shanghai Metro plans to install platform doors at all 48 stations.

"The security doors are installed on the edge of the platform to block any access to the tracks, thus making it impossible to jump on them," said Zhu.

The Shanghai Metro carries 1.4 million passengers each day.

Another area of growing concern is the need for effective response measures and trained personnel to deal with a major emergency. Employed by Shanghai Metro but supervised by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, the guards have undergone public security and fire control training.

"Handling emergencies is one of their main focuses," said Zhu.

The tasks of the new guards are much broader than those of their predecessors, who were responsible only for maintaining public order.

Thirty-three of the guards are female and will be on hand to deal with problems of women passengers, said Zhu.

(China Daily October 19, 2004)

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