A three-year national campaign to prevent fires sparked by electrical appliances has received extra resources following a major fatal blaze in Beijing last month, according to a senior fire control official.
Inspectors have been visiting manufacturers since May to evaluate working conditions and products in order to stop low-quality or fake goods from reaching the market.
However, after the fire in the capital's southern Daxing district on Nov 18 that killed 19 people, including eight children, authorities have stepped up efforts to prevent hazards from shoddy electrical devices, said Du Lanping, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security's Fire Control Bureau.
"We will publish, in a timely fashion, a list of illegal enterprises and inferior products, and will seriously combat companies that produce fake or uncertified electrical appliances," she said in an exclusive interview.
Du said more resources, including manpower, will be devoted to the task, while enterprises will face tough fines for violations of standards.
"We hope through our three-year efforts, major fire incidents attributed to electrical products nationwide will be greatly curbed and effectively prevented," Du added.
The safety campaign is being led by the State Council's Security Commission, which is made up of 13 agencies, including ministries and State administrations.
It was launched six months before flames destroyed the three-story Jufuyuan apartment complex in Daxing, which investigators determined was caused by an electrical fault in a newly installed refrigeration unit.
"The high incidence of such fires has exposed some outstanding problems in electrical devices, including quality, circulation and sales, design and construction, and circuit usage and maintenance," Du said.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, 74,000 fires were caused by electrical appliances between January and October, resulting in 370 deaths and 226 injuries, and a direct economic loss of 1.2 billion yuan (1.3 million).
Du said 62 percent of those fires were caused by problems such as electrical faults, short circuits and overloading, while 37 percent were the result of electrical equipment failures, such as the heating apparatus in Daxing.
She pledged that fire control officers will investigate designers, engineers and manufacturers who do not follow China's quality standards.
"Those who shortchange on materials or use inferior wires or inferior electric products, resulting in fires, will be held accountable," she said.
They also will investigate users who don't follow standards in installing electrical circuits, overload power systems, or improperly or haphazardly connect wires, as well as those using inferior electrical products, she said.
Guo Zechang, a lawyer with Beijing W&H Law Firm, said, "Apart from beefing up investigation efforts, people's awareness should be raised to realize the importance of fire control, and cooperate with the fire control departments.