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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 March 2019

Business card-sized sticker set to prevent skyscraper fires in Dubai

Dubai Civil Defence shows how nanotechnology will be used to stop residential blazes

Maj Gen Rashed Al Matrooshi at Dubai Civil Defence demonstrates the latest technology in fire safety. Anna Nielsen for The National
Maj Gen Rashed Al Matrooshi at Dubai Civil Defence demonstrates the latest technology in fire safety. Anna Nielsen for The National

A patch the size of a business card will help prevent skyscraper fires in Dubai.

The small sticker, which costs only Dh11, could save lives and prevent millions of dirhams in damage, when it is introduced in the UAE next year.

This nanotechnology works by reacting to a spark or a flame, releasing an extinguishing agent that will put out a fire before a blaze has the chance to spread.

The patch can be applied to any electrical device or fuse box and is being developed by Dubai Civil Defence.

Pyro stickers, a similar technology from Indonesian company Actok, are already available in the Emirates, but Dubai aims to produce its own version.

Dubai Civil Defence’s Col Ali Hassan Almutawa, said about 80 per cent of fires are caused by electrical faults. “The behaviour of materials used in construction and new innovations using nanotechnology will help us make a huge difference to fire safety,” he said.

“It is technology we are working on but we want the materials used to be environmentally sound, and not the hydrofluorocarbons currently used.”

The patches work by releasing chemicals which choke the flame by removing oxygen. Gases also cool down the area around the source – such as a fuse box – limiting the risk of re-ignition. The patches even work when wet.

“This will be used in buildings across Dubai from next year and we hope similar technology could then be used in paint for buildings,” Col Almutawa said.

Maj Gen Rashid Al Matrooshi, Director General of Dubai Civil Defence, demonstrated how the pyro sticker works.

During a tour of the Dubai Civil Defence technical division and command centre, Col Almutawa showed The National how the emirate was leading the way in fire protection.

The department is operating a Life Safety Dashboard that connects more than 56,000 commercial buildings with a control room.

The programme also includes 1,800 residential properties, with more set to follow.

It follows a Civil Defence partnership with Etisalat that began last year, connecting tens of thousands of residential properties with a mobile app offering emergency alerts to homeowners. More than 400,000 villas are expected to feature the technology by 2024.

Dubai Civil Defence aims to bring down emergency response times and is focusing on fire prevention.

In 2017, response times averaged just under eight minutes, with incidents brought under control within an average of 20 minutes. Officers responded to 465 fires that year.

Dubai Civil Defence uses Alarm Transmission Equipment to monitor buildings and report incidents and faults.

More than 100,000 Ates are connected across 67,000 buildings and the project is a collaboration with communications company Avaya.

Sulaiman Karim Albulooshi, director of technical affairs at Dubai Civil Defence, shows off a drone used to help fight fires. Anna Nielsen for The National
Sulaiman Karim Albulooshi, director of technical affairs at Dubai Civil Defence, shows off a drone used to help fight fires. Anna Nielsen for The National

It is also working on using video technology and drones to help direct firefighters to specific areas of a building when flames spread.

Sulaiman Karim Albulooshi, Dubai Civil Defence’s director of technical affairs said drones were launched at the site of an incident.

“These can give us real-time images in high-definition to get a better assessment of a fire. Once we have a 360-degree view of the building, our thermal cameras can pick up the source of the fire,” he said.

Updated: March 2, 2019 07:22 PM

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