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Sharjah to enforce stronger fire safety rules

Officials working towards zero-incident rate through inspections and deterrents

Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Remains of the burnt pesticide factory in Al Saaja industrial area in Sharjah where six workers died.
Gulf News

Sharjah: The Civil Defence department has started intensive inspection and awareness campaigns targeting the commercial and industrial establishments they warned last year to follow fire safety and protection rules.

Fines ranging between Dh10,000 to Dh50,000 will be levied if they are found flouting the safety rules and not responding to the warnings issued to them.

Brigadier Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence Department, told Gulf News the department had started the inspections.

All the civil defence teams across the UAE have started the implementation of Cabinet resolution No 24, 2012, which stipulates that all facilities and state buildings should undergo electronic inspections, and the decision of the Ministry of Interior No 505, 2012 on civil defence services.

Sharjah Civil Defence Department recently held a number of campaigns to educate businesses about the dangers of fire and issued warnings earlier for failing to implement fire safety procedures.

The department is intensifying inspections to ensure businesses follow the rules.

In January, the department, as part of a national inspection campaign organised by the Ministry of Interior for three months, inspected 8,000 industrial establishments and found that 89 per cent of them follow the safety rules, Brigadier Al Suwaidi said.

“We are doing our best to keep Sharjah free of fire accidents during 2013. As we said earlier, the fire incidents have been reduced by 50 per cent last year compared to previous years as a result of the inspection campaigns carried out during 2012,” Brigadier Al Suwaidi added.

Brigadier Al Suwaidi emphasised that new establishments will not be allowed to operate unless they meet the fire safety standards and adopt all the fire safety measurements, such as installing fire extinguishers and alarm systems.

“The certifications were given to recently opened commercial, industrial and residential establishments in order to ensure that from the day they first start operating they are not exposed to any fire hazards,” Brigadier Al Suwaidi said.

The main aim of the certifications, he said, is to reduce the frequency of blazes in factories, warehouses and homes.

Sharjah Civil Defence has cooperated with several government bodies, including Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) and the Sharjah Economic Development Department, to set mandatory rules for owners to obtain a certified letter ensuring that their establishments are up to standard. The certified letter is a prerequisite for obtaining water and electricity connections, in addition to other licences.

“This certificate is obligatory for all establishments that have been recently launched. If they do not receive the certificate, then they will not be able to receive the services of any other government department,” he said.

Brigadier Al Suwaidi noted that Civil Defence inspectors, in addition to companies specialising in fire safety and preventive measures approved by the authority, are allowed to certify commercial and residential establishments.