A fire that killed over five dozen people—more than half of them children—in a Russian shopping mall in March has shed light on a deeply flawed system of fire safety in the world's ninth most populous country.
"Although Russia has strict fire regulations, there is little enforcement and corruption is rampant," Don Bliss, NFPA's vice president of field operations, told me for an article appearing in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.
According to a report co-authored by NFPA and released last year, the number of fire deaths per 100 fires is 6.4 in Russia, compared to just 0.2 in the U.S. and the U.K. In fact, of the 30 other countries listed in the report, including developing countries like Mongolia and Vietnam, only Belarus, formerly part of the Soviet Union, had a higher fire death rate per 100 fires (7.9) than Russia.
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