Ministry of Interior is studying proposal to make owners bear part of cost of extinguishing fires

Ministry of Interior is studying proposal to make owners bear part of cost of extinguishing firesImage Credit: Supplied

The Ministry of Interior is studying the possibility of making commercial and industrial establishments where fires break out bear part of the financial costs of extinguishing the fire, if there is any negligence on the owner's part in adhering to safety measures at their facilities, a Ministry of Interior official said on Sunday.

Lt Gen Saif Abdullah Al Shafar, Undersecretary of the ministry, spoke during his visit to Sharjah Civil Defence. He said that the clean-up operations are very expensive.

All fires are put out at the expense of the government.

The proposal is under study and will be implemented once the body concerned approves it.

Lt Gen Al Shafar also said that under the directives of Lt Gen Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, all commercial and industrial establishments across the country will be linked to the Civil Defence operations room, which is alerted automatically in case of fire and this will help reach the site easily.

''The automatic alerts will report fires immediately and shows its location,'' Lt Gen Al Shafar said.

The security systems will be managed by the operations room.

All commercial and industrial building owners are obliged by law to have their premises connected to the operations room.

''We are working to reduce the response time to four minutes in line with global standards,'' he said.

At the same time, Lt Gen Al Shafar praised the efforts of Sharjah Civil Defence and other departments in the UAE which took part in controlling the recent fire in which five warehouses containing hazardous materials were gutted.

As many as 150 firefighters from civil defence department across the country helped extinguish the fire that took around 24 hours to put out.

He mentioned that all departments across the country are implementing development plans for their basic services in order to facilitate rapid response and reduce the amount of damage fires cause.

Lt Gen Al Shafar was briefed on the work flow and the services provided by the Civil Defence in Sharjah.

The Undersecretary called upon the Sharjah Civil Defence Department to implement development plans for their basic services, especially human services, in order to reduce the number of fires and the property loss that they cause.

He also praised the firefighters and their skills in controlling fires as well as their professional qualifications.

He stressed the need to strengthen and develop prevention, control and safety measures in all buildings, including high-rise buildings, as a key indicator of the development of civil defence services, and an important factor in providing a safe environment for the community.

During a meeting held at the department, he reviewed future projects that will be implemented in line with the Ministry of Interior's strategies that aim to improve the work of the civil defence force. He also toured Ajman Civil Defence to review the work flow and procedures.

Warehouse fire

The investigations of the Sharjah Civil defence have revealed that the owners of the gutted warehouses did not follow safety measures in storing their items, Colonel Khalid Bin Kanoon, Acting Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence, told Gulf News.

Col Bin Kanoon said that the warehouses contained flammable material such as car polish cans, more than 150,000 tyres, and wood, which helped the fire to spread quickly to the adjacent premises.

Firefighters from Samnan, Saja'a, Al Mina, Moleih, Al Hamriyah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain as well as Sharjah Municipality's tankers worked to bring the fire under control within 24 hours.

One firefighter was reported injured and authorities are investigating what caused the fire.

Colonel Bin Kanoon, Colonel Ali Rahma Al Owais, Director of Operations, and Major Saeed Obaid Al Suwaidi, Director of Civil Defence centres attended to the scene of the incident and supervised the operations.

The incident caused a traffic tailback during the morning rush hour as motorists slowed down to watch the burning warehouses.

Sharjah Civil Defence has reported an increase in fire incidents during the summer period from May to September.

Authorities have urged owners of industrial and commercial premises to follow safety measures to prevent such incidents.

Source: Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter,


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