(L-R) David Stanley Brown,Director of operations and third officer/asst: commisioner London fire brigade,Chrisopher Tan Eng Kiong, senior assistant commisioner Singapore Civil Defence and Grand Nigel Lupton, senior civil defence advisor for the ministry of interior UAE at the Fire Prevention Conference by Civil Defence, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, in Abu Dhabi - Photo Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Domestic incidents accounted for 54 per cent of the recorded fire accidents in the country, Civil Defence officials have said.

The Civil Defence plans to reduce fire accidents considerably during 2017 to 2021, officials said at the Fire Prevention Conference here on Monday.

Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the conference, Major-General Jasem Mohammad Al Marzouqi, General Commander of Civil Defence at the Ministry of Interior, said: “Our top priority is to save people’s lives in the first critical minute of the fire, and we have a cascaded scheme to train civilians — such as security personnel, employees and even residents — in fire prevention techniques and prompt response,” Al Marzouqi said.

The conference stressed the importance of installing smoke detectors in homes and highlighted the risks posed by using bukhoor (Arabic incense) inside wardrobes, and igniting lighters in kitchens.

Khalifa Senan Al Muhairi, a fire victim, shared his story on how he returned from travel and found his house on fire.

The conference marked ‘World Civil Defence Day’ that is celebrated internationally on March 1, and honoured Civil Defence servicemen.

First Lieutenant Taher Al Taher, head of inspection and permission section at Dubai Civil Defence, highlighted the revamp of the UAE Fire and Safety Code.

“We included new chapters on the responsibility of contractors, consultants and residents of fire safety measures in residential and commercial establishments, and why residents need to install home smoke detectors,” Al Taher told Gulf News.

The UAE Fire and Safety Code was launched in January this year to organise Civil Defence efforts in fire prevention measures.

Brigadier Christopher Tan, director at the Singapore Civil Defence Force, stressed the importance of raising fire safety awareness among the public.

“It’s vital that people are trained in rapid intervention if a fire breaks out. They have an important role to play, until firefighting units intervene,” Tan told Gulf News.

Fire safety companies exhibited various fire detection and safety schemes at the conference.

Khalid Hammad, senior sales and service engineer at Vision Safety, said: “We’re working closely with the Civil Defence on the installation of wireless home smoke and heat detectors. In fire accidents, the sensor gives a warning alarm at 100 decibels — equivalent to an ambulance siren — to alert people to evacuate.”

The wireless system costs Dh11,000 and includes a set of seven smoke detectors for rooms and heat detectors for kitchens, an emergency break glass unit, a main control panel and a sound alarm unit.