Image Credit: Dubai Civil Defence

Dubai: Cigarettes butts were the second most common cause of fire incidents that led to seven deaths and 68 injuries in Dubai last year. Electrical short circuits were the leading cause of blazes, a senior Dubai Civil Defence official said on Sunday.

A total of 465 fire incidents took place in Dubai in 2017 and officials identified 15 other causes of fires besides the abovementioned ones, said Major General Rashid Al Matroushi, director of Dubai Civil Defence.

“There were no investigation behind 314 fires as the owners withdrew their rights to investigation. 69 fires happened due to short circuits and cigarettes butts were behind 14 fires,” Maj Gen Al Matroushi said. Other reasons for fires included candles, lighters, oil used in kitchens and sparks from welding electrodes.

The average response time for all fire emergencies was 7.7 minutes and for tackling blazes was 20.7 minutes, the official said.

“Firefighters did an outstanding job to deal with fire incidents in Dubai last year. Their response times helped to save many lives. Despite that, seven people were killed and 68 others injured in the fires. A total of 12 firefighters were also injured while battling those fires,” he added.

Thirty-two per cent of the fires reported across Dubai last year occurred in warehouses and commercial shops with 149 incidents, while 126 fires occurred in villas and 90 fires in residential buildings, according to the Dubai Civil Defence report released on Sunday.

Maj Gen Al Matroushi said that Dubai was ranked first in safety in terms of tower fires globally considering that there were zero fatalities reported in tower blazes last year.

“Dubai became a unique example in fighting high tower blazes. Though we had some blazes in towers last year, we recorded zero deaths because of linking the towers to the command centre and installing fire safety equipment. The casualties in Dubai were from home fires, not in tower fires.”

Awareness campaigns, fire drills

Maj Gen Al Matroushi said that about 476,330 people benefited from 883 fire drills last year.

About 3,583 pupils in schools across Dubai were educated about fire safety precautions.

Risk mitigation efforts

Dubai Civil Defence, installed fire safety and alarm systems in 64,031 buildings and properties in Dubai.

Some 50,344 buildings and properties in Dubai were linked to the Dubai Civil Defence command room.

“The smart system alerts about fires, glitches in lifts, and any negligence or dysfunction in fire systems in the buildings. We recorded 28.7 million alerts since we have had the system in 2008,” Maj Gen Al Matroushi said.