x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Significant fall in number of people killed in fires in Abu Dhabi, government figures show

New figures for Abu Dhabi emirate also reveal drop in fire deaths and injuries.

A fire crew tackles a blaze in downtown Abu Dhabi. Paul O’Driscoll / The National
A fire crew tackles a blaze in downtown Abu Dhabi. Paul O’Driscoll / The National

ABU DHABI // Thirty-four people were killed in fires last year and 323 injured.

But this was down from 53 blaze victims and 463 injured in 2011 – a decrease of 36 and 30 per cent, respectively.

The number of blazes attended by firefighters also fell by more than 34 per cent last year – from 783 to 1,192.

“The main reason for a reduced number of fire incidents has been due to greater monitoring of buildings for fire safety and general monitoring of fires,” said Maj Gen Rashid Al Matroushi, director general of Civil Defence.

“We have also been issuing fines to buildings who violate fire safety rules.”

The latest figures released by Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (Scad) also showed deaths and injuries in fires has been decreasing each year for the past four.

There were 1,131 fires in 2009, in which 81 people died and 719 were injured. In 2010, there were 1,189 fires with 72 deaths and 532 injuries.

The number of people who have died in blazes has fallen by about 60 per cent between 2009 and last year.

Gen Al Matroushi said he expected the number of fires to be reduced further, not only in Abu Dhabi but across the country, in the coming years after a new, national electronic system is rolled out to check fire-safety equipment.

“With this we will be able to monitor all buildings,” he said. “The Cabinet has also approved this system, so soon it will be implemented.”

The system will monitor all buildings in the country to ensure they are fully equipped to handle a fire and no safety rules are breached, Gen Al Matroushi said.

Most of last year’s fires were in Abu Dhabi city, with 473 call-outs. There were 240 in Al Ain and 70 in Al Gharbia.

There were more fires in May than any other month last year, with 86, followed by January with 82. September recorded the fewest, just 50.

The Scad figures also reveal road-traffic accidents remained a major cause of injuries and death in Abu Dhabi.

Statistics for last year were not available but in 2011 there were 1,588 traffic accidents in which 3,873 people were injured and 334 died.

During that year, 488 people were run over, there were 431 accidents involving a car overturning, 100 head-on crashes and seven collisions involving animals.

The Scad yearbook contains about 750 figures providing an overview of the emirate’s economy, population, society and workforce.

The annual publication has advanced greatly since its first in 2009, when there were only 200 indicators.

“The publication of the Abu Dhabi Statistical Yearbook 2013 translates the Scad’s belief in the importance of timely access to statistical data in decision support and policy-making at all public and private levels,” said Butti Al Qubaisi, director general of Scad.

“This latest issue of the book reviews a wide range of development indictors for the period 2005 to 2012, highlighting the major transformations experienced by the emirate in all spheres, including the economy, business and industry, population and demography, society, labour force, agriculture and the environment.”

jbell@thenational.ae