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Mayor Inspects City’s Preparedness against Disasters

Mayor Ko Wen-je sought to address the city’s shortage of firefighters and promote the establishment of a unified fee standard for ambulance service. He also expressed concerns over the city’s preparedness for emergencies and disasters.

He made the remarks during an inspection visit to the Fire Department’s Emergency Dispatch Center on December 31, 2014.

After attending a briefing by the Fire Department on emergency operations, Ko inquired about details on the types and frequency of disaster prevention drills conducted by the city government over the years. He expressed disbelief upon hearing that that the last time the highest-ranking city officials received emergency training was in 2004.

In light of this, the mayor requested the Department of Civil Servant Development to design training sessions for agency chiefs on disaster prevention and relief operations. He said he will attend the upcoming exercise on April 28 to determine if there should be any area that needs improvement.

In addition, Ko also pointed out the serious challenges confronting the Fire Department. The agency is reporting a 24% shortage on manpower. Currently, only 1,580 positions out of 2,063 required personnel are filled. Ko reckoned that the problem should be tackled with through cooperation between the city government and relevant authorities under the central government.

As for possible fees for non-emergency ambulance use, Ko reckoned that the City should design a clear SOP and set standards on fees for the the service. The approach will effectively help prevent abuse of the ambulance system through establishing concrete guidelines.