SHARJAH // Authorities across the UAE aim to make this year's Ramadan celebrations safer and free from crime.
In Sharjah, residents who plan to erect tents are being urged to make sure they meet strict fire safety requirements to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Brig Abdullah Saeed Al Suwaidi, director general of Sharjah Civil Defence, said tents that had not been inspected and officially licensed were potential fire hazards that pose serious public-safety risks.
Civil Defence inspectors will carry out regular checks on tents and marquees in the emirate throughout Ramadan, with owners fined up to Dh1,000 if they are found to be unsafe or unlicensed.
"A tent has to be approved so that it maintains all the safety requirements, especially with Ramadan falling in the hottest period of the year," said Brig Al Suwaidi.
Tents are required to have safety-checked electrical wiring and be made from non-flammable fabric.
Brig Al Suwaidi added that emergency exits should be clearly marked in English and Arabic.
Those wishing to erect a Ramadan tent in Abu Dhabi must first obtain a permit from the municipality.
People can submit an application to erect a temporary structure at their local municipality centre.
During Ramadan, a permit will be free of charge, said Ahmed Fadil Al Mazroo'ee, director of external municipal centres.
Tents have to be taken down by the end of the Eid Al Fitr holiday, although the municipality can ask anyone to take down their tent immediately should an emergency arise, or if they are found to be contravening municipal guidelines.
If an order to take down a tent is ignored, the offender will have to pay a fine of Dh25,000.
Anyone who erects a temporary structure without a permit could be fined Dh10,000.
Municipal officials will conduct inspections of tents to ensure they do not block pavements or streets, entry points to buildings, car parks or emergency exits. The tents must not affect traffic or the mobility of pedestrians, and they may not be constructed on someone else's private property.
Sharjah Traffic Police is also stepping up patrols and surveillance on the emirate's main roads in a bid to prevent accidents by motorists driving home to break their fast.
Lt Col Ahmed bin Darwish, the head of the patrol department, said that reorganising traffic flow, especially since many roads in the emirate were closed for maintenance, was a priority.
He urged people to slow down and drive safely, especially during times close to sunset, when most accidents occur.
In Ajman, police have launched a campaign to combat begging, which increases during Ramadan, under the slogan: "Don't give ... fight it."
Col Lt Abdullah Saif Al Matroushi, the director general of Ajman CID, said begging was illegal and that poor or needy individuals could go to charities for help and support.
"The public needs to understand that those people enter the country through organised gangs that send them here to make money," he said. "These gangs exploit the sympathy of Muslims in the UAE during the Holy Month."
Lt Col Al Matroushi said police would not tolerate anyone entering the country just to beg. Officers plan to combat begging by intensifying patrols in all commercial, residential and industrial areas, including near mosques, banks and money exchanges.
He also urged charities to provide information about the help available to the needy, and the proper way for the public to approach them.
Beggars in Ajman can be reported by calling 067409999 or 067401616.