An Arab girl died after she fell off the fifth floor of a building in Abu Dhabi, according to the police. Picture for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Sharjah: The Sharjah Municipality has cleared up confusion among residents wishing to install child-proof safety grilles on their balconies, stating that tenants will be fined Dh250 if they do not obtain permission to do so from the civic body.

The clarification arose after a tenant last week complained that the municipality issued a general infraction notice against him for Dh250 because he installed a safety net on his balcony, in a bid to ensure his daughter's safety.

"Nowadays we are seeing on a daily basis that children are falling from balconies. There are reports and advertisements in newspapers about what [safety precautions] parents should take. But Sharjah Municipality has charged a fine for the safety measures," said Ramkumar, a father of a 10-year-old girl who lives on the eighth floor of a building in Abu Shagara.

However, a senior official at the municipality explained that tenants wishing to install safety grilles or any other visible device on their balconies should first request permission to do so from the landlord.

Necessary

Once the approval is acquired, tenants are instructed to visit the Technical Affairs Department at Sharjah Municipality in Nasseriya for official permission.

The importance of children's safety has been highlighted recently by local authorities after a spate of tragic accidents.

"Parents should take all precautionary measures for their children's safety but they should do it in a manner that is consistent with the building's original drawings," said Abdul Aziz Al Mansouri, Director of Technical Affairs at Sharjah Municipality.

He said such safety grilles can pose a hazard. "A fire broke out last month at an apartment because a family was cooking on the balcony. If [tenants] put safety nets up, the inspectors' vision will be blocked and they will not be able to see what is going on behind."

He stressed that tenants' requests submitted to the Technical Department will be forwarded to Sharjah Civil Defence to ensure that the alterations do not pose a fire hazard.