In the recent weeks, the UAE witnessed multiple fire incidents, resulting in huge damage. An entire market in Ajman that housed more than 100 shops was gutted while incidents were reported in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Duty Free warehouse, twin towers in Sharjah and many more. These incidents have once again brought the focus to the heat of summer fire.
The local authorities are yet to reveal the reasons behind the fires in Ajman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. However, it is a well-known fact that most of the incidents are attributed to faulty electrical connections and poor maintenance.
Officials from the civil defence authorities in the country have underlined that safety can be easily assured by following a few simple steps. "Nothing is more important than the safety of your family. It is important that every member of the family feels safe when at home," an official from the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence said.
"You need to do periodic maintenance of electrical connections and appliances, and check for faulty connections and overloading. It is important to ensure proper working of the air conditioners and water heaters. You should never neglect exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchens. Another important matter is the regular checking of the condition of cooking gas cylinders. You must also be careful to always turn off the knob of the gas cylinder after use. Never leave any flammable items in the store room and liquid products in poorly ventilated areas for long periods," the official said.
He advised that smoke detectors and safety equipment like fire extinguishers are a must in every flat.
"Everyone in the family must know where the emergency exit and staircase are. The building caretaker must also make sure that the exit points and staircase are free of any hindrances in case of an evacuation."
Maintain your vehicle
The official noted that apart from buildings, vehicles are another major source of fire accidents. Car fire incidents are often reported in the summer months, from May to September.
Elaborating on safety measures, he added: "It is true that technical and electrical faults can be the cause of fire in your vehicle. Small accidents can affect the electrical systems in the vehicle. Small leaks of oil, petrol or car refrigerant can cause fire. The best solution is regular maintenance of the vehicle by qualified personnel. I advise not to leave any flammable materials, such as lighters, sanitisers, perfumes, in the car to ensure your safety. Lastly, putting the fire extinguisher in the vehicle is just as important as everything mentioned before."
The official also urged parents not to leave their children alone in parked vehicles.
Home evacuation plan a must
The Abu Dhabi Police have urged residents to be prepared with an evacuation plan in the event of an unexpected fire. This can be done by first drawing a plan of the house and exit points. It facilitates the evacuation procedures in case of a fire, like identifying the safest paths to escape and assembly points.
"Each room has two exits - a door and a window. The window is considered an alternative exit for people and serves as an entry point to the building for firefighters during rescue operations."
Officials urged residents to carry out mock evacuation drills twice a year with family members to enable them to deal with the real-life situation. Mock drills will also help a person to understand how they react to an emergency situation and help to correct their mistakes.
"These are simple measures but you can't imagine their effectiveness," the official added.