Earlier this month, a 7 month old baby and parents were rescued from an apartment that had no smoke alarms fitted. Due to this incident, fire safety experts, doctors and insurance firms have called for smoke detectors to be made mandatory and fitted in all residential homes in Oman.
The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) has had ten fire incident call outs on average a day since 2011, many of these have included car fires and electrical fires. With the rising heat in the region there is an increase in unexpected fire outbreaks and residents need to be prepared for this with the correct fire safety kit installed in their homes.
However, as many smoke alarms have been going off due to cooking or burning incense in the home, it is recommended that fire extinguishers are fitted instead to avoid the alarm being constantly triggered.
It is because of this that many people have dismissed neighbouring fire alarms in their residential apartments but Dr. R Kumar, said;
“Residents, especially those in high rise building should not ignore fire alarms as the danger becomes more significant when emergencies occur on higher floors.”
The Medical Director of Al Hayat Hospital said;
“More fire drills need to be conducted in all buildings to avoid any fire accidents.”
According to the PACDA;
“Smoke detectors are mandatory in commercial areas, industrial areas, business establishments, apartments and hotels, but not in homes and barely any in the Sultanate have them.”
What else is being done?
A new campaign has been started in Sharjah called ‘Our Homes Are Safe’ which is conducted in public parks. It teaches people practical ways of dealing with a fire as there have been many fire incidents in Sharjah in high rise buildings.
One participant told The National:
“They raise awareness in a practical way that is more effective than the old method of distributing safety brochures. They also provide lessons on how to avoid simple mistakes that could result in deadly fires, such as using electrical equipment near gas containers and appliances.”
For the best interests of residents’ safety, it has been suggested that one member of each household should know how to identify a hazard and put out a fire, so managers of apartment buildings are coming up with a way to ensure that this is the case. Recent reports by Sharjah Civil Defence show that many household fire incidents could have been prevented if residents were only aware of simple safety steps.
With the campaign’s public practical lessons on fire safety and Oman health and safety officials making smoke alarms and extinguishers mandatory in all residential homes, the number of fire incidents and fatalities will hopefully decrease.
The Abu Dhabi e-Government Gateway provide citizens with Home Safety Tips on ‘How to Reduce the Risk of Domestic Fire.’ You can read through their tips here »
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