China has become the first country on Earth to open a dedicated fire safety ‘theme park’ aimed at educating people on how to react and what to do in the event of a fire in their home or place of work.
The fire safety theme park, which has been named 119 in homage to China’s emergency services phone number, is located in an industrial area outside the north-eastern port city of Tianjin. Earlier this year, Tianjin was rocked by a series of immense explosions at a chemical warehouse on the city’s docklands, after which local fire fighters were hailed as heroes due to their prompt and efficient response to the resulting blaze. It’s believed the new fire safety attraction is a direct result of the Tianjin explosions.
Staffed by volunteers from the local fire service; the new theme park aims to educate people in the effects and hazards of fire, as well as inform them of the best way to respond in the event of such an incident as the one mentioned previously. So far, the park has proved extremely successful, with hundreds visiting to brush up on their fire safety skills.
The attractions housed within the park are designed to offer a comprehensive approach to fire safety, both in terms of fire prevention and safe evacuation, and how to safely tackle a fire. Visitors will learn firefighting skills as well as safe evacuation procedures, and find out first-hand what it’s like to evacuate from a burning building.
One of the most effective attractions in instilling an awareness of fire safety in the park is the maze, which gradually fills with orange smoke to simulate the drop in visibility produced by a raging blaze. Once inside the maze, visitors are given just 30 seconds to find their way out — something which has proved easier said than done on account of the limited visibility and panic created by the smoke.
Upon completing the maze fire simulation, one visitor said: “In the maze you’re quite nervous, there’s smoke, but we’re taught how to cover our mouth and nose. If I was faced with this situation now, I’d be able to smoothly escape.”
By developing the public’s understanding and awareness of what to do in the event of a fire, park organisers hope this increased mindfulness will help to save lives in the future — particularly in the event of a blaze like the one seen in Tianjin, in which over 170 people lost their lives.
China’s fire safety theme park has left many speculating whether other countries across the globe should follow a similar route in highlighting the importance of fire safety. In 2014, over 22,000 fires were recorded in non-dwelling buildings across the UK, a figure which highlights the significance of an effective fire safety protocol.
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