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Screen-shot of an official video showing Sharjah Civil Defence teams inspecting gas cylinders Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Gas suppliers and distributors will face tough action if they violate safety rules, including heavy fines and closure, top civil defence officials said.

Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi

Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, director-general of Sharjah Civil Defence, told Gulf News that tough action will be taken against each violator because of the risk it poses to lives. He said: “Violators will be levied a fine ranging between Dh50,000 and Dh100,000, in addition to suspension of operations for a period of six months, or even permanent cancellation of licence in case of repeated violation.”

Stiff penalites
Fine of Dh50,000-Dh100,000
Suspension of operations for six months
Permanent cancellation of licence for repeated violation

Smugglers caught

Col Al Naqbi added that 66 violations were caught in 2021 compared to 15 violations in 2020. Vehicles smuggling cylinders and expired cylinders were seized and those who had violated other standards also faced action.

Most instances of smuggling were reported from Ajman to Sharjah, where distributors illegally sold cylinders to owners of restaurants and facilities not covered by the gas network at cheaper rates and less capacity.

Civil defence staff also raided farms where they found expired gas cylinders waiting to be filled. Owners of gas-filling companies in Sharjah said they are working with concerned authorities to check the smuggling of cylinders. They said the average life of a gas cylinder spans 15 years, after which gas filling companies are obliged to change them for free without any commission, for the safety of end-users.

Blame game

While distribution agencies blame gas-filling companies for failing to dump expired cylinders and replace them with new ones without extra cost, gas-filling companies maintain that distributors continue to supply consumers with outdated cylinders filled with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) illegally from outside the emirates.

A source said: “Distributors benefit from the price difference by filling the cylinder with less than the specified capacity. The cheap price is because of the weight difference.”

Target zero

Consumers on their part also rarely check the expiry dates of gas cylinders before buying them from distributors.

The department is coordination with the concerned authorities to prevent smuggling of gas cylinders by launching a full-fledged campaign. “The aim is to put an end to the use of expired cylinders and also smuggling incidents,” Col Al Naqbi said.

Sharjah Civil Defence continuously organises a dedicated forum on the new requirements for licensing gas suppliers, transportation and filling of cylinders, besides other related safety guidelines.

10 tips when buying a cooking gas cylinder

1. Always buy your gas cylinder from an approved distributor.

2. When the cylinder is empty, call the same distributor to replace the old cylinder.

3. Look for the seal in a new cylinder.

4. Check if your cylinder is not damaged, dented or rusted.

5. To verify the expiry date of a gas cylinder, look for it on the stay plate.

6. Do not roll the cylinder from place to place. The valve should always face upwards.

7. Place the cylinder in a well-ventilated area and do not expose to sunlight.

8. if you smell gas, check for a leak. Never light a match to detect a leak, call the supplier.

9. Turn off the regulator or valve when leaving the house.

10. Do not connect more than one cylinder to one cooking appliance