x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Work starts in UAE to prevent electrical fires during Ramadan

Work has begun to prevent electrical fires during Ramadan, with experts predicting July will be its most taxing month.

DUBAI // Work has begun to prevent electrical fires during Ramadan, with experts predicting July will be its most taxing month.

"This is the first time in 30 years that Ramadan will be in the summer," said Raed Al Marzouqi, head of the Occupational Health and Safety section at the municipality.

"Summer is the time of year when everyone has their air conditioning on full power and there is a huge load on electricity consumption.

"Normally, people go on holiday during the summer, so that helps reduce the load. With Ramadan happening during summer now, people will be staying in the country and delaying their trips."

Ramadan is also a peak month for activity, with kitchens in use all day preparing for iftar and suhoor meals.

"All these factors will come to play at the same time, putting a huge load on electrical systems and, therefore, there is a higher potential for electrical fires to occur during this time," Mr Al Marzouqi said.

To prevent the risk of fires, the municipality is preparing an electrical-fire awareness campaign and plans to use thermal cameras that can detect the heat emanating from electric cables during their inspections during summer.

"Dubai is very different place than it was 30 years ago, so we can't just go about like everything is normal this Ramadan, we must look at every possible scenario," Mr Al Marzouqi said.

Andy Dean, the general manager of Exova testing and certification facilities, which conducts fire testing, commended the municipality for their proactive approach.

"High loads on the electrical system can cause a high fire risk. It's very prudent of the municipality to be looking at this issue," he said.

Mr Dean's company worked with the government of Bahrain to test the fire safety of electrical products and found high risks in domestic items.

"Items such as fans and extension cords that have become worn out over time are a major cause of fires," he said.

Homes are also fitted with decorative lighting during the Holy Month, which can also be a fire hazard.

Mr Al Marzouqi said maintenance of power transformers would also have to be addressed.

"We are looking at extreme conditions and everything is expected to be working at optimum capacity. We must make sure that can handle the load.

"A power shutdown during summer - especially at a factory or construction site - can result in great losses."

malkhan@thenational.ae