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Fire safety stepped up in Tiananmen Square
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Beijing municipal authorities have cancelled leave for volunteer and professional fire fighters serving the central Tiananmen Square area from Aug. 6 till Sept. 20.

The "level I fire prevention and control plan", the highest level of alert, would ensure emergency cover during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said Jiang Shengli, head of the fire control authority in charge of the area, on Thursday.

It would be the first time the city had implemented the level I plan, which prohibited leave for all professionals and more than 90 percent volunteers on duty, said Jiang.

The Tiananmen Square area covers 2.2 square kilometers and is home to the Great Hall of the People on the west, the National Museum of China on the east side and Chairman Mao's mausoleum on the south side.

Jiang said fire prevention and control staff at 11 key building complexes would be doubled and put on 24-hour rotation after Aug. 6.

In August, Tiananmen Square is scheduled to hold more than 20 large events, and is expected to receive more than 1 million visitors a day.

(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2008)

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