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Preventing fire in buildings is a key priority of the government, as reaffirmed by the overhaul of fire regulations and introduction of pioneering smart technology in fire prevention.
Dubai Civil Defence has already made it mandatory to install fire alert systems in all new villas and apartments, and the recent policy will later be extended to existing buildings as well. This is a significant step because of the large number of planned residential projects in the emirate.
The total residential stock in Dubai was estimated to be around 365,000 units in the first quarter, according to industry experts, with an additional 24,000 residential units expected to be handed over this year. Additionally, around 39,000 residential units are expected to enter the market over the next two years.
It's a challenging task, but authorities are adopting smart technology to make the job easier. The 24x7 direct alarm system, unveiled by the Dubai Civil Defence Preventive Safety Department at January's Intersec exhibition in Dubai, will notify emergency response operators once a button is pressed.
''The project is part of Dubai Government's efforts to make the city the safest in the world. We will install a small device and when someone presses it, we will know he has a problem,'' said Lt Col Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, Director of the Preventive Safety Department at Dubai Civil Defence, during the Intersec event. ''We will know the location without the person having to give us directions.''
The authorities claim this system is the first of its kind in the world.
The department will also introduce a smartphone app that will alert authorities during emergencies, which means one does not have to call 999 to report fire incidents.
According to the Dubai Civil Defence, its 24x7 Command Control Centre has already received around 4,071 alarms since its inception. As of January, 53,561 assets have been subscribed to the Direct Alarm System. The number of fire accidents has declined from 631 in 2007, before the system was launched, to 380 last year.
Source: Syed Ameen Kader, Special to Property Weekly, gulfnews.com