Major Abdullah Salem Humaid addresses a press conference at the Sharjah Cultural Palace on Tuesday. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Sharjah: Over 100 women, including housewives, received training in preventing accidents inside homes and handling fires during an awareness workshop held in Sharjah on Tuesday.

With at least 51 per cent of fires and accidents across the UAE taking place at home, according to Sharjah Civil Defence, the workshop, organised by the Sharjah Protection and Safety Authority, involved intensive training to curb wrong practices and reduce the number of accidents occurring in homes.

Held in collaboration with Sharjah Civil Defence, the participants were taught about common accidents and how to deal with them, such as gas cylinder leakages which can lead to blasts, fire outbreaks, gas stove fires, accidents involving children and heater explosion.

Major Abdullah Salem Humaid, safety inspector and first commissioned officer at Sharjah Civil Defence, said it was crucial to hone the preventive skills of housewives so that they can efficiently protect themselves and their families against any dangers they may encounter at home.

“At least 51 per cent of fires and accidents in the UAE happen in houses. Some are minor and the others severe, but nonetheless, it’s a very large percentage. Some of them are not even reported,” he told Gulf News following a lecture held at Sharjah Cultural Palace.

Electrical appliances

Meanwhile, Major Hani Rashid Dahmani, another spokesperson from Sharjah Civil Defence, said they have witnessed a rise in accidents involving electricity in the recent past.

“We always tell people, especially housewives, about the importance of choosing the right electrical appliances and ensuring they are original. These items should be used carefully as per the instructions to avoid accidents and fires,” he said.

He pointed out that people often do not carry out right maintenance of electrical appliances such as air-conditioners, or rely on non-specialists to do the maintenance for them. He added that the maintenance of gas extensions is equally important.

As part of the workshop, Maj Humaid highlighted the need to also raise awareness about the common wrong practices of people such as overloading circuits or running cords/wires under carpets.

“Sometimes people mistakenly do something that puts them into serious danger like testing the gas using a lighter, cutting wires and connecting them directly to the circuit and overloading the extension circuits which all lead to fires,” he said.

He added that housewives have a role to educate their housemaids so they are also able to deal with various situations.

The training also included teaching participants how to use fire alarms and extinguishers.

Gas connection

Shamsa Ganem, an Emirati mother of two, said she worries mostly about the gas cylinder at home. “I always have my eye out on the gas cylinder in case of a leakage because failing to notice and fix it can be chaotic. I joined the workshop because I was also interested to learn about fire extinguishers and how to use them.”

Khowla Khalid Mohammad, also an Emirati, said she joined the workshop so she could learn about preventive measures and educate her other family members.

“I always hear about fires happening and I’m always worried about the gas cylinder and electricity connections at home, so it’s good to attend a workshop like this to learn how to protect our homes,” she said.

Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director-general of Sharjah Civil Defence, said the workshop is part of the department’s annual and regular plans to best protect the society. “The workshop, in view of the interior ministry’s strategic goal to boost civil safety and prevention, is one of our principal duties to ensure the highest levels of safety for individuals and properties,” he said. “This is done by adopting the best prevention, crisis and disaster management practices.”

The event was held under the theme ‘Home Safety and Security’ and is part of the authority’s annual plan that is aimed at promoting the culture of safety and security and spreading public awareness about the same so that people have control over possible risks at the right time.