UAE civil defence to install fire safety systems in homes
Sheikh Mohammed stated that households that could not afford smoke detectors would have it installed at the government's expense.

In the wake of the tragedy that struck a family in Fujairah, the UAE government is hotfooting the rapid installation of smoke detectors at all citizens' homes across the UAE.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI), led by by Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, held an emergency meeting with the directorates of civil defence of all emirates, on Tuesday. The meeting discussed the best ways to implement the order issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to link fire-specific early warning systems featuring indoor sirens in nationals' homes.

Sheikh Mohammed also stated that households that could not afford it would have it installed at the government's expense.

MoI will receive requests for installation of alarms on its website and smartphone app.

MoI has also launched a new system 'Hasantak' for detecting fires and smoke in a fast and smart way, said Major General Jassem Al Marzouqi, Commander-in-Chief of Civil Defence at MoI. Already in place at government buildings, all UAE buildings will be connected to the system by 2023, he stated.

The seven children in Fujairah suffocated to death from heavy smoke inhalation, after the fire broke out in the wee hours when they were sleeping.

Dubai Civil Defence on the ready

Major General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director general of the Dubai Civil Defence, stressed that starting Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed's directives to connect residences to the Civil Defence's early warning system will be executed.

He said that registration for nationals will begin within a week, for the installation of the smart warning system, through the Civil Defence's website.

Major General Al Matroushi added that his team has worked out mechanisms to execute and overcome all the obstacles that prevent Emiratis from joining the programme and to accomplish the installation work in a short time. Installing the smart warning systems can be done within just 24 hours, and involves a smart data plaque placed at the home entrance, he said, adding that it features keys connected directly to the civil defence operations room. In the event of a fire, it can also make a call for help.

The Dubai Civil Defence chief expressed his utmost condolences and sympathies to the Al Sreidi family that lost seven of its children to the early morning fire.

Smoke detectors mandatory in Sharjah

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Colonel Sami al Naqbi, director general of Sharjah Civil Defence, said that the department has also started implementing Sheikh Mohammed's instructions effective Tuesday, based on the strategies of the MoI surrounding fire safety.

The department has started coordinating with the Sharjah Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Social Services to use their data on citizens, to install the fire system and smoke detectors.

Citizens can also approach the civil defence and register their installation request. The Sharjah Civil Defence has also made it compulsory, as of 2018, for all new apartments and villas to have smoke detectors, to ensure the safety of residents.

Last year, the Sharjah Civil Defence already installed 1,000 smoke detectors and alarms free of charge in citizens' homes.

Fire prevention is key, says Ajman

Top officials of the Ajman and Sharjah civil defences visited the condolence tent of the Al Sreidi family, expressing their deep sadness and condolences to the mother of the deceased children and other members of the family.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Brigadier Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, director general of the Ajman Civil Defence, said that Sheikh Mohammed's instruction on the installation of fire protection systems in all nationals' homes will prevent such tragic accidents - caused by the lack of safety measures - in the future.

Such tragedies leave an indelible impact on society's psyche, he noted, adding that prevention is better than fighting it after the fire occurs.

The Ajman Civil Defence is preparing the mechanism to implement the installation of the fire protection equipment and alarm systems, linked with operating rooms, to ensure quick response in emergencies, he noted.

Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and regular maintenance of electrical wiring will be installed, in addition to training programmes and awareness workshops which will be carried out throughout 2018 as part of the Ajman Civil Defence's strategic plans.

Fujairah speeds up fire protection

In Fujairah, the emirate where the tragedy panned out, Brigadier Ali Tunaiji, director general of the Fujairah Civil Defence, said they have started work on Sheikh Mohammed's orders on an urgent basis. He urged all citizens to approach the civil defence and request for fire protection systems installation, immediately.

Smoke detectors and alarm systems will contribute a great deal in reducing suffocation caused by fires and gas leak incidents, he stressed.

The advanced protection systems to be installed will alert home owners into taking immediate action in the event of a fire. The civil defence is coordinating with two companies specialising in smoke detectors, to provide them at prices ranging from Dh2,500 to Dh5,000, making it affordable to all economic strata.