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26 Mar 2018

Probe into fire safety of Belarusian shopping centers after deadly fire in Russian Kemerovo

MINSK, 26 March (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has charged the Emergencies Ministry with inspecting all the shopping centers in Belarus, BelTA learned from Belarusian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Vashchenko on 26 March.

According to the source, the head of state has instructed the Emergencies Ministry to put together a comprehensive plan and arrange an examination of such facilities by the end of the month. “We’ve given tasks to division heads at the local level. The ministry will send representatives to all the oblasts in order to organize this work. We’ve notified the State Secretariat of the Security Council, the chairman of the State Control Committee, the head of the emergencies commission under the Council of Ministers. This information has also been sent to all the oblast governors,” said the Belarusian emergencies minister.

Vladimir Vashchenko noted that work had already begun. “First of all, we will look into fire safety measures, escape routes, proper work of safety systems, automatics, and fire extinguishers. We will also check personnel training — their knowledge and skills, actual accomplishments,” informed the head of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry.

The official reminded that upon businessmen’s requests fire safety checks had been curbed in the past and barriers impeding the development of business had been dismantled. “Back then the head of state noted that fire safety precautions must be observed. Today we’ve been instructed to take a look at the state of affairs and take exhaustive measures to prevent such things from happening in our country,” stressed the official. “This is why I would recommend that all managers and owners of such facilities should not wait for the arrival of our inspectors. Instead they should take exhaustive measures to take care of fire safety as of today.”

Vladimir Vashchenko noted that the Emergencies Ministry would report what is done to the president. “We will report concrete proposals, the state of affairs. And certainly we will mention all the facilities where violations are found, listing all their managers and owners,” said the emergencies minister. “Naturally, we will approach the matter very seriously without any delays because we cannot let such a tragedy happen in Belarus. This is why the president has given instructions to take exhaustive measures to address violations. We may go as far as shutting down the facilities where violations threaten the safety of people.”

The Emergencies Ministry will keep the general public informed about the places where fire safety precautions are not observed and will take all measures to rectify the situation.

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