Fire alarms are sounded. Girls put out fires using fire extinguishers and flee from the smoke. Over one hundred migrant female workers took part in a mock fire drill Sunday in Beijing.
The All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) and China Fire Protection Association organized the fire drill to educate the female workers, most of whom work in restaurants, on fire prevention and self-rescue skills in disasters.
Hong Tianhui, vice chairwoman of ACWF, said that in Beijing alone, women make up more than 40 percent of the work force hailing from the rural areas. Most of the female workers lack basic knowledge on disaster prevention and rescue, which leaves them more vulnerable if fire breaks out.
There were 235,941 cases of fire accidents in China in 2005, causing 2,496 deaths and 1.36 billion yuan, or about US$171 million, in direct economic losses. A significant number of the fires took place in homes as well as labor-intensive enterprises, which typically employs large number of migrant workers.
(CRI September 18, 2006)