x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Number of fires in UAE buildings drops by more than a third

There were 3,274 building fires, down from 4,980 in 2010.

DUBAI // The number of fires in UAE buildings dropped by more than a third last year compared with 2010, according to a report released by Civil Defence.

More than 4,000 fires were reported in the UAE last year in which 95 people died and 1,817 were injured.

There were 3,274 building fires, down from 4,980 the previous year. Casualties from building fires fell to 33 from 174, while the number of people injured dropped from 2,525 in 2010 to 237 last year.

The majority of deaths in the country were caused by fire involving car eruptions in the period between January 2011 to January 15 of this year, in which 62 people were killed.

Still, Civil Defence identified fires in households to be the most frequent. The majority occurred in kitchens and were mostly due to residents' non-compliance of safety regulations.

"The majority of these fires occur in residential buildings and are caused by negligence and not adhering to fire safety regulations, [they] occur especially in kitchens and in electrical connections ," said Major General Rashid al Matroushi, acting director of Civil Defence.

Last year, Civil Defence said it carried out a nationwide door-to-door campaign, visiting tens of thousands households to educate residents on fire safety.

A major cause of fires in the Northern Emirates is non-compliant storage of of gas cylinders, which can cause them to explode, officials said. Residents are also warned not to leave oil in pans on the hub, not to overload electrical connections and to check water heaters.

Yesterday, civil-defence chiefs took delivery of a fleet of new firefighting vehicles in a Dh25 million-a-year campaign to cut response times and reduce fire deaths and injuries.

wissa@thenational.ae