Firefighters extinguished 45,000 fires in first half of 2012

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Firefighters extinguished about 45,000 fires nationwide and rescued more than 56,000 people in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Figures released Wednesday by the ministry showed that firefighting squads across the country mobilized 3.3 million personnel to complete 312,000 missions from January to June.

Property worth a combined total of 78.66 billion yuan (12.389 billion U.S. dollars) was retrieved or protected, the ministry said.

“Firefighting departments have been making greater preparations to cope with earthquakes, with squads in six provincial-level regions launching earthquake rescue and relief drills,” said an unnamed official from the ministry’s firefighting department.

In a recent case, more than 48,000 people were relocated following a 6.6-magnitude quake that jolted a mountainous area in west China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region early Saturday morning. The quake was followed by several 3- to 4-magnitude aftershocks.

According to the ministry, fighting fires accounted for 14.4 percent of all firefighting activities conducted during the period, while the rest involved disaster rescue and relief, social aid and antiterrorism efforts.

The official said firefighting departments have been focusing on interregional coordination as a foundation for disaster rescue and relief work.

Xinhua