/South Korean President Moon Jae-in appointed Korea’s top actor Jung Woo-sung and Han Ji-min as a honorary firefighter on the occasion of Firefighters’ Day on Nov 9.
President Moon called for stepped up efforts to protect the lives of the people, stressing the need to prepare for all types of disasters, such as earthquakes.
The remarks came at a ceremony marking Firefighters' Day, which falls on Nov. 9.
"Firefighters are the hands of the government that first reach out to those who sit on the verge of life or death," the president said. "As the people depend on firefighters, we must actively find problems should there be any, and correct them."
"First, we must prepare for disasters that are increasingly becoming more complex and large, and build our counter capabilities," he said, noting the September 2016 tremor in Gyeongju and hundreds of aftershocks since that have confirmed the country is not safe from earthquakes.
"Second, we must make sure no one is left out of our protection due to where they live, their age or physical or mental disabilities," Moon added.
The president noted that firefighters have been doing a great job, despite a significant shortage of manpower.
Currently, the entire force lacks at least 19,000 firefighters guaranteed under the law, he noted.
"Starting with 1,500 new firefighters, the government will completely fill the vacant positions by 2022."
He also called on firefighters and rescue workers to help prepare for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
"Your work and sweat, even if unnoticed, will become the foundation of success in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games," he said.
Actor Jung Woo-sung (L) attends an event at the National Fire Service Academy in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, on Nov. 3, 2017, on the occasion of Firefighters Day. At his right is actress Han Ji-min.