High-rise res­i­dents tak­ing high risks

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan pa­

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

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