Fire Services Department speaks out as rescuers see record number of search and rescue last year

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This came as authorities held a cross-departmental hill fire and mountain rescue drill in Nei Nak Shan on Lan Tau Island Thursday morning.

The department noted that reports of hill fires decreased from 1,100 cases in 2020 to 650 cases last year. However, the number of mountain rescue incidents was on the rise, with the department seeing more injuries (590 people) and deaths (20 people) due to the incidents.

The public are recommended to pay attention to weather conditions, plan their hiking route ahead of time, and avoid hiking alone. The department also reminded that hikers should stay calm if they ever run into hill fires and should navigate away from the fire towards locations where there is less shrubbery, and the wind is weak.

The 2-hour drill this morning saw the Fire Services Department mobilizing some 130 personnel, totaling up to 300 participants after they were joined by participants from other government departments.

During the drill, rescuers utilized new technology for the rescue operations, such as using drones and utilizing AI facial recognition systems to quickly locate missing persons.