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Speech by S for S at Opening Ceremony of Fire Asia 2009 (English Only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, at the Opening Ceremony of ˇ§Fire Asia 2009ˇ¨ International Conference and Exhibition that opened in Hong Kong today (February 9):

Good Morning, Honourable Guests, Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     I would like to join Director Lo in welcoming you all to "Fire Asia 2009" International Conference and Exhibition.  Fire Asia has become one of the pre-eminent events for practitioners in the fields of fire safety, fire engineering and pre-hospital care.  It offers a wonderful opportunity to keep all participants abreast of latest developments, share experience and build important networks in Asia and beyond.

     The theme this year is ˇ§Rising to New Challengesˇ¨.  Everyday, people around the world are threatened by natural disasters and man-made calamities.  The age-old aim is to survive.  The ever-growing challenge is how we can do it better, and how we can be better prepared.  As our cities are growing larger with increasingly complex buildings and infrastructure, it is of paramount importance that we understand the new risks they bring about and devise appropriate strategies in mitigating them.  We must also be vigilant to the prospect of more severe weather conditions due to the effects of global warming.    

     As a major financial, trading and transportation hub in the Asia Pacific Region, Hong Kong is committed to providing first-rate emergency services for the protection of lives and property.  We attach great importance to the training of our emergency response units and we invest heavily in the procurement of the necessary equipment.  To enhance building safety, we have updated the legislative requirements on fire safety of old buildings to modern standards, and are assisting the owners in carrying out the necessary improvement works.  We are also looking for new ways to optimise the utilisation of our ambulance resources so as to improve the response time for critical cases.  

     To meet the new challenges and prepare for disasters and other safety hazards, Hong Kong will continue its efforts in updating the emergency management systems and adopting the best practices in life safety.  I am excited by the range and depth of expertise brought together by this conference, and look forward to new direction to enable further improvement.  In this regard, the conference will, over the next few days, focus on some key issues such as performance-based fire safety design, emergency preparedness in different countries and pre-hospital emergency development.

     Alongside the conference, the organising committee has also arranged an exhibition where a wide array of the latest fire fighting and rescue equipment, protective gears, fire safety engineering products and related computer software will be on display.  I am confident that you will all find this conference a fruitful and rewarding experience. And to those participants visiting us from different parts of the world, I would like to wish you an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, February 9, 2009
Issued at HKT 12:52


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