Fire incidents are always a major concern, especially as high temperatures allow fires to spread more rapidly. In the UAE, measures to prevent fires from starting are a top priority. while strict laws and regulations in place to combat this issue have resulted in a significant decrease in incidents. Yet, negligence and faulty maintenance systems can result in loss of life and substantial property damage.
Everyone must contribute to keeping the community safe, as fire prevention is a collaborative effort in which everyone should participate. The community management, for its part, plays a vital role in ensuring that everyone involved is well prepared to contribute to fire prevention.
What are some of the most important fire safety strategies that community managers can put in place to help residents prepare for and stay safe in an emergency situation?
Regular maintenance, safety checks
Faulty air conditioning systems, heaters, boilers, chimneys and electrical wiring and equipment, among others, can start a building fire. Careless use of gas cylinders and induction cookers, as well as smoking in undesignated areas or storing hazardous materials on balconies, are all probable causes.
A significant amount of fire hazards can be avoided by installing and using electrical equipment correctly, as well as performing regular preventive maintenance. Each community has its own annual preventive maintenance plan that covers all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Most importantly, all fire and life safety systems are checked, tested, and approved in accordance with local authorities' guidelines and requirements to ensure community readiness for any emergency or fire situation.
Fire drills are emergency response practices that reduce losses and damages by training people to respond to emergency situations and testing the efficiency of related systems. Fire and safety protocols ensure all employees, residents, and visitors are educated on what to do and how to react in case of a fire.
They help you test your evacuation plan and improve any aspects of your fire provisions that are ineffective. In addition to community management, local authorities play an important role in fire drills by guiding, participating in, and setting training and testing requirements and guidelines.
Understanding local fire safety regulations and codes is one of the most important preventive measures and should be implemented during the design/construction phase and operating time of the property. The federal government has implemented several smart methods, such as the Hassantuk program and 24X7 panels, to monitor and detect fire and smoke alarms in commercial and residential apartments, as well as to ensure timely response and actions in the event of a fire.
In accordance with the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code of Practice, owners or developers must appoint a specialised contractor for the management and maintenance of fire alarms and firefighting systems, who must be approved by the appropriate authorities to ensure that all safety standards are met. This will ensure that all stakeholders involved are adhering to the original design intent and that cost-cutting measures are not used to remove elements of a building's infrastructure.
Using a specialised contractor guarantees that any problems are easily identified and corrected, successfully reinforcing the safety of buildings and communities.
A proper evacuation plan along with a well-training emergency response team would allow for the outlining and practicing of escape routes. This can create an important difference during an emergency situation and can also save lives and properties. You will not waste time trying several unsuccessful escape routes if you have an escape plan. Having a well-maintained and tested fire life safety system will help allow for the effective and efficient containment of fire.
Fire safety insurance
Consider purchasing insurance against fire and other natural disasters. There are insurance policies available that cover both property and contents. Fire, burglary, theft, earthquakes, and other natural disasters are all covered under these policies.
Fire safety awareness initiatives
One of the primary causes of fire is carelessness due to a lack of fire safety awareness. So, one of the most effective ways to create fire safety is to implement proactive and creative awareness initiatives and campaigns among owners and residents.
Fire management in communities and on private property can be critical. All relevant stakeholders must work continuously to implement and improve fire prevention and control policies and procedures to ensure that buildings and communities are free of fire hazards.