Of­fi­cials re­lease fire fig­ures for Dubai in 2016

Hu­man er­ror is costly, says civil de­fence

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi nawal@7days.ae

Fire­fight­ers have tack­led more than 320 blazes so far this year in Dubai, with one in four fires break­ing out in res­i­den­tial homes.

Dubai Civil De­fence recorded three deaths and 10 in­juries in 322 in­ci­dents be­tween Jan­uary and the end of Au­gust, the lat­est fig­ures have re­vealed.

Of­fi­cials said 33 per cent of fires were in com­mer­cial prop­er­ties and ware­houses and six per cent were in un­der-con­struc­tion build­ings, adding that many had been pre­ventable.

A civil de­fence spokesman said: “Fires usu­ally oc­cur as the re­sult of an un­fore­seen prob­lem and are of­ten pure ac­ci­dent, but it can be due to some­body’s care­less­ness – a lit cig­a­rette thrown into a trash­can, a lack of main­te­nance, an op­er­a­tor’s er­ror or im­proper re­pairs.

“In other cases we see ac­ci­dents caused by con­struc­tion work­ers us­ing flammable sub­stances [when they shouldn’t]… train­ing and strict pro­ce­dures can pre­vent many po­ten­tial fires.”

A quar­ter of reported fires were in res­i­den­tial build­ings.

The fire spokesman said that when it comes to res­i­den­tial fires, crews of­ten find “food that is be­ing cooked left unat­tended or the oven was left on, which was found to be the cause”.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Rashid Thani Al Ma­troushi, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Dubai Civil De­fence, said that if res­i­dents are caught in a fire, they need to fo­cus on get­ting them­selves out safely be­fore they worry about their prop­erty. Al Ma­troushi told the Ara­bic news­pa­per Al It­ti­had: “Peo­ple must get away from the site of the fire first then call for help.”

He said that when it comes to mi­nor fires, res­i­dents can use a man­ual fire ex­tin­guish­ers if they have been trained to use them. Al Ma­troushi added: “Civil De­fence will re­spond to calls im­me­di­ately in or­der to pro­tect lives with­out ex­cep­tion. They also do not hes­i­tate to pro­tect pets, the en­vi­ron­ment, nat­u­ral re­sources and pub­lic and pri­vate prop­er­ties.”

Yes­ter­day, 7DAYS reported that one of the ex­perts in­volved in writ­ing Dubai’s fire safety code be­lieves too many res­i­dents are fail­ing to show com­mon sense when it comes to fire preven­tion, plac­ing them­selves and their neigh­bours at risk.

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