KNOW YOUR DRILL? FIRE SAFETY IN SPOTLIGHT
High-rise residents taking high risks
The number of people living in high-rise buildings in Dubai who have not taken part in fire drills is “a scary thing”.
That was the view of a senior fire engineer with international consultancy firm Buro Happold.
Majed Almejmaj made his comments at the Health, Safety and Security Forum in Dubai.
He asked the packed conference for a show of hands from anyone who had taken part in a fire safety drill since they had moved to Dubai.
Almejmaj said he was not surprised when only half a dozen people raised their hands.
“When I did my PHD I surveyed 400 people here who lived in high-rise buildings,” he said.
“Only 15 per cent said they were ever involved with fire drills. “It’s a scary thing to be honest.” Almejmaj spoke about the challenges the UAE faces when it comes to fire drills.
“We’ve had to do a lot of work just to convince people about the dangers of using an elevator during a fire,” he said. He added that one of the main decisions that has to be made with highrises is whether or not a fire warrants the evacuation of the entire building.
Almejmaj welcomed the call by Dubai Civil Defence, earlier in the week, for people to install smoke alarms in their homes. “It does help,” he said. “You have to be careful though, you can’t evacuate a whole building just become someone has burnt toast.
“That said, if you look at the majority of deaths from fires, they are caused by people smoking in bed and then falling asleep.
“Smoke detectors are used primarily for property protection but are still invaluable.”
‘You can’t evacuate an entire building just because someone has burnt toast’ – Senior fire engineer