Abu Dhabi: The Civil Defence in Abu Dhabi launched an awareness campaign on the installation of smoke detectors in residential villas here on Wednesday.

The campaign titled ‘Smoke detector is your home protector’ aims at reducing losses and saving lives by warning residents to evacuate from their villas when a fire breaks out.

The awareness campaign will be held for one year simultaneously in Arabic, English and Urdu across the UAE and will also be embedded into private and public school and university curricula.

Authorities will consider issuing a resolution that imposes safety measures by the installation of smoke detectors in private villas across the UAE after the one-year campaign.

At a press conference held to announce the launch, Major-General Jasem Al Marzouqi, general commander of the Civil Defence in the Ministry of Interior, said, “The awareness campaign targets private villas in the UAE that lack proper smoke detectors and aims at promoting safety standards at homes, saving the lives of people and their property and minimising fatalities caused by inhalation of toxic fumes resulting from fires.

“We want what’s best for our people, and the best safety standards, and we thought to approach them by talking to them and communicating with them directly.

“Fifty-four per cent of the fires occur at homes and most of the furniture in houses is synthetic and when a fire breaks out, it emits toxic fumes and carbon monoxide that is a threat to life. It makes breathing difficult, so we want to ensure that people have the necessary protection to alert them to evacuate when a fire breaks out,” Maj-Gen Al Marzouqi said.

With the advance of technology, there are options for people to safeguard their homes if a fire breaks out even in their absence.

They can get to know of it by remote knowledge by downloading an application on their phones and syncing it with the smoke detector, Al Marzouqi said. In case of a fire, the app alerts the owner.

Another option is to have the Civil Defence install a box or a device which comes with a SIM card to be placed along with the smoke detector. You need to insert the SIM card, which is connected automatically to the Civil Defence operation room 24/7, in the device and leave it there at all times. If a fire breaks out, the Civil Defence operations room is automatically alerted.


Gulf News spoke to companies displaying smoke detectors at the press conference.

Nitin Shah, chairman and managing director of New Age Company, said, “There are several types of fire detection devices: smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors, which are all easily installed on the ceiling. Smoke detectors are installed in rooms and heat detectors are installed in kitchens and transmit a voice message and a beeping siren and alarm at 85 decibels (equivalent to race car at a speed of 200 kilometres), across the house when a fire breaks out.

“Some of the detectors can be switched off manually, whereas others continue beeping for three minutes and only go off once the fire is extinguished. Some are designed with built-in batteries that are durable for 10 years while others have lithium batteries that can easily be replaced. The device has a lifespan of 10 years and ranges between Dh1,500 and 3,000, depending on the size of the house and the number of rooms.”

(Asma Samir is a journalist based in Abu Dhabi)