x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fire warnings are issued as families prepare to cook their iftar meals

Leaving incense burners unattended and forgetting to turn off ovens are two of the main causes of fires during the holy month.

ABU DHABI // Police have warned residents to be particularly vigilant during Ramadan, when the risks of fires increase as people cook elaborate iftar meals and burn more incense. Leaving incense burners unattended and forgetting to turn off ovens are two of the main causes of fires during the holy month, the Ministry of Interior said yesterday. It also warned of the dangers of fireworks and firecrackers.

"There is a tendency to have more fires during Ramadan as families cook large meals in a short time and forget to pay attention to safety procedures," said Brig Gen Mohammed al Awadi, deputy director of public relations at the ministry. He warned those cooking in preparation for the iftar meal at sunset against wearing "loose clothes and long sleeves", as they could catch fire. The ministry also called on the public to pay particular attention to the safety of gas cookers by checking the state of the rubber pipe connecting the gas cylinder to the oven.

"Only professionals should be connecting the gas tankers, as any wrong step could lead to a gas leak and an explosion," warned Brig Gen al Awadi. One of the most common source of fires during Ramadan are incense burners, left to burn for hours unattended. "Leaving an incense burner near clothes, or inside a closet full of clothes, is dangerous," he warned. It is a tradition to pass an incense burner among visitors during Ramadan, so they can fan themselves with the fragrant smoke, or to leave one burning where coats and abayas are hung to infuse them with the smoke.

"Every household should have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it," said Brig Gen al Awadi. The announcement comes as Dubai Municipality issued strict shisha regulations in Ramadan tents to ensure the holy month passes without fire problems. The municipality said it will deploy officers to inspect tents to ensure there are no offences. Offenders face fines ranging from Dh1,000 for minor offences, such as smoking in a tent, to Dh50,000 for major violations, which include setting up a tent without proper permits and allowing unlicensed activities.

@Email:rghazal@thenational.ae