Floodwaters inundated much of the Heishuihao village, Suining, Sichuan province, on Aug 16, 2020. LIU CHANGSONG/FOR China DAILY

The Ministry of Emergency Management on Tuesday selected 10 typical cases of emergency rescue and work safety accidents in 2020 to warn governments, enterprises and society as a whole against the dangers of lowering their guards at critical moments.

However, the cases indicate that although the lockdown of the country in the first quarter of 2020, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, halted industrial production in many sectors, and contributed to a drop in deaths caused by accidents, the decline in the number of deaths caused by natural disasters last year can partly be attributed to the development of the country’s overall emergency response system, particularly because the country saw the worst floods in recent years in 2020.

Since the founding of the Ministry of Emergency Management in 2018, the State has paid special attention to improving the emergency management skills and professionalism of rescue teams.

Also, the emergency management departments at various levels attach great importance to learning from every major accident, so that they can become more responsive while dealing with an emergency.

Thanks to that, many lives could be saved in a timely manner during various accidents last year, such as the hotel collapse incident in Quanzhou, Fujian province; the roof cave-in at Tashan Coal Mine in Datong, Shanxi province, and the floods in Yingshang county, Anhui province.

The modernization of the emergency response system is a long and arduous task, but the country is determined to complete it.

However, the awareness of work safety and natural disaster prevention and control measures remains low in many enterprises, local governments and grassroots communities.

So it might be a good idea to make emergency management and rescue skills part of compulsory education nationwide, the way it is in Japan.

That will not only help prevent accidents, but also bring about a marked reduction in deaths during natural disasters and accidents.

It will also reduce the load on professional emergency rescue personnel, leaving them to focus and play a greater role during serious emergencies.