UL shares top tips to prevent fire outbreak this summer

Hamid A Syed Vice President GM for UL Middle EastUL, a safety science company, has advised UAE residents and businesses to follow a series of top safety tips to prevent fire hazards to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer

Fires in residential buildings, villas and commercial real estate during summer have been a serious issue in the region. Negligence and human error have resulted in the loss of lives and damages to property worth millions in the past.

There has been a significant decline in fire outbreaks in recent years due to safety awareness initiatives launched by authorities. However, the risk of fire incidents within the UAE rises during summer as temperatures soar up to 50° C.

Hamid Syed, vice-president and general manager in the Middle East for UL, said, “One of the biggest reasons behind fires in buildings in the region is carelessness due to the lack of awareness. The construction industry in the Middle East needs to ensure that the installation of cladding and safety infrastructure is of top quality, adhering to the technical specifications laid out by the UAE government.”

“Also, older buildings have an added risk of poorly maintained electrical networks and gas pipeline systems. Small, unnoticeable faults may lead to a larger issue as the exterior of buildings accelerates the spread of flames. This is likely to increase the risk of secondary fires spreading to different levels of a building,” he added.

UL, which has a regional office in Dubai and a laboratory in Abu Dhabi, has provided a series of top tips to mitigate risk this summer.

-Close bedroom doors at night as this preventative measure can slow the spread of fire, reduce toxic smoke levels, improve oxygen levels and decrease temperatures dramatically – and that could make a life-saving difference in your home.

-Avoid any unauthorised changes or additions to electrical connections to avoid overloading.

-Be alert and stay near any heating elements in the kitchen, whether it’s a grill or a stove top, while they are in operation. Read all instructions that come with a cooking appliance as it may have vital safety or operational information.

-Plug only one heat-producing appliance, such as a coffee maker, space heater or microwave, directly into a wall outlet at a time.

-Unplug small appliances when you are not using them; as it may result in hazardous situations if left on for long periods.

-Avoid putting extension cords where they can be damaged or pinched, for instance under a carpet or under a window or door

-Keep fire blankets handy in the kitchen as they are highly flame-resistant and can be used to extinguish a small fire or to wrap around a person in case of a fire.

-Do not smoke inside the house or throw cigarette butts from balconies as they are the second leading cause of fires in the UAE.

-Place working smoke alarms an all levels of the home, including both in and outside of all sleeping areas.

-Undertake basic fire safety training including the right technique of using a fire extinguisher. Practice a home fire drill twice a year with all family members

-Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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