SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Korea Bizwire) – Revisions to five existing laws pertaining to firefighters were passed by the State Council of South Korea on December 19, according to the National Fire Agency.
Drivers with the bad habit of refusing to give way to fire trucks will have to mend their ways, as one of the approved revisions has raised the maximum fine for such actions from the previous 200,000 won to 2 million won.
The revisions will ensure firefighters can fully concentrate on their duties without fear of repercussions; they will be either exempted from criminal prosecution or given lighter sentences for injuries suffered by other individuals, provided the servicemen and women had not intentionally hurt the victims or caused serious injury.
Furthermore, a special committee will be established to deal with demands for reparations for damage to property caused. Previously, no official procedure had been in place for mediating such disputes, and some firefighters ending up paying out of their own pockets.
In addition, the revisions grant the National Fire Agency chief the ability to help staff that have been sued through measures like providing a lawyer.
The legal amendments extend beyond just the firefighters; a modification to the law governing disaster management of buildings with basement levels will going forward require management of high-rise structures to include appropriate evacuation plans for children, seniors and the disabled in the building’s safety measures.
Those who either do not install evacuation facilities or barricades and close down these places can face a fine of 50 million won, 20 million won more than in the past (a conviction also carries a prison sentence of less than five years, which has not been changed).
Fines for persons found guilty of interfering in firefighters’ emergency response work have also been raised from 10 million won to a whopping 50 million won.