New gear to save lives

June 23, 2019

Super typhoon Mangkhut left a path of destruction in Hong Kong last year when it knocked down more than 60,000 trees and caused extensive damage to the city.


This year, the Government is readying for the wet season with new equipment and exercises to optimise its emergency response.


One such drill, which put the Civil Aid Service’s preparedness for emergency operations to the test, saw service personnel efficiently cut apart a collapsed tree with new high-powered chainsaws in a Tsuen Wan campsite.


Civil Aid Service (Department) Operations & Training Assistant Ng Shing-chiu said the new chainsaws are suitable for most scenarios involving typhoons.


“The new chainsaw models have much more power and are simpler to use.


“Another piece of equipment that has been introduced is the extended pole saw, which can stretch as high as 21 ft to reach broken branches on treetops.”


To guarantee the chainsaw operator’s safety, the service also started using two types of protective chaps made of materials that can stop a chainsaw’s rotation, Mr Ng added.


Better response

Besides tree clearance, the service needs to deal with flooding, casualty evacuation, evacuation of residents and management of temporary shelters.


It has introduced different types of specialised equipment to handle such scenarios, such as new and more comfortable life jackets for rescuers and victims.


Previously the service only had one size of throwline, but now there are various sizes and lengths for different flood rescue scenarios.


The rescuer can throw these throwlines from the shore or use them while they are in the water.


Civil Aid Service (Department) Acting Principal Operations & Training Officer Chui Ka-yi said: “The service has seen all-around improvement in terms of equipment, training and relief effort strategies.


“We also gained valuable experience from our deployment when super typhoons Mangkhut and Hato smashed into Hong Kong.”


The service will hold talks and workshops in Kwun Tong and Sha Tin to introduce measures that residents should take when facing emergencies.

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