x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Drive to improve global fire safety

Dubai International Burn Victims Bill of Rights is to be presented to the UN in an effort to ensure minimum standards in every public building in every country.

DUBAI // Health authorities in Dubai have launched a campaign to improve fire safety around the world. The Dubai International Burn Victims Bill of Rights is to be presented to the United Nations in an effort to ensure minimum standards in every public building in every country. The Emirates Medical Association (EMA), Dubai Police and Civil Defence will present the document to the World Health Organisation during National Burn Week starting on Monday. "This is the first bill of its kind to be introduced, and we want to do it on an international scale because it is the basic right of every human being to be protected from burns and fires," said Dr Ali al Numairy, president of the EMA.

"The Dubai International Burn Victims Bill of Rights will guarantee that every public place, every relevant authority, and every building, will be equipped and educated to the necessary level of fire safety to reduce the number of burn victims across the world. If a restaurant does not have a fire escape, for example, then your right has been breached." The licences of premises failing to implement adequate fire protection measures would not be renewed, under the legal framework in the proposal. Dr Numairy said other breaches of human rights under the bill would include ambulance staff inadequately trained in handling burns injuries being sent to the scene of a fire.

"All these rights should be made public, and should be there for people's protection," said Dr Numairy. "This is an international problem, and Dubai is taking the lead." Next's week's National Burn Week, organised by the Emirates Medical Association Plastic Surgery Society, will be observed at Dubai Police Academy and focus on fire prevention. Last year's inaugural event focused on household and electric fires.

"The most burn-related incidents were a result of electric fires and connections," Dr Numairy said. "We introduced better utilisation of storage for chemicals and changed their packaging, as we found that they were in households where children could access them." The EMA has also requested that the Government approve butane gas leak detectors, which have now become available on the market. "Fifty four per cent of burn incidents that occur in the UAE are within a domestic environment," said Dr Numairy

In 2007, 40 people were killed in the UAE as a result of burn-related incidents, while 163 were admitted to hospital. The total number of accidents resulting in burn injuries were 2,557, and the total cost of treating burn victims in 2007 came to Dh3.1 million. Dubai Civil Defence introduced regulations in August on electric fires, whereby every building should be equipped with fire detectors in order to be open to the public. Dubai Municipality also introduced regulations on flammable substances.

"There are no optimal requirements for a building, and it won't be allowed to open unless it meets these requirements," said Dr Numairy. nsamaha@thenational.ae