UAE’s Sharjah Civil Defence to make negligent property owners pay for firefighting costs

UAE’s Sharjah Civil Defence to make negligent property owners pay for firefighting costs

Civil Defence in UAE’s Sharjah have warned negligent property owners that they will be held accountable for firefighting costs if they flout fire safety measures.

The fines from the Sharjah Civil Defence is aimed at landlords of industrial and commercial buildings, particularly after finding that many fire safety regulations are not being adhered to. The Fire Department has been called out to handle fires at warehouses, workshops, factories and commercial outlets which could easily have been avoided.

The charges will reportedly be calculated on the basis of the number of hours spent in extinguishing the flame, the number of fire engines and firefighters deployed for the incident. Over and above the firefighting charges, a fine of up to Dh50,000 will be imposed for flouting fire-safety codes too.

Colonel Sami Khamis Al Naqbi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defence, has urged all property owners, investors and tenants to adhere to safety rules and share the responsibility with Civil Defence in protecting life and property on their premises. The new rules will also protect tenants and urged them to report any violations they find in buildings.

Colonel Al Naqbi said stricter fire prevention measures were being adopted as part of Ministerial Resolution No 213 of 2017. He said: “We decided to implement these steps in Sharjah in view of the size of our industrial areas. Our priority is to ensure the safety of all people and maintain a peaceful environment in the emirate of Sharjah, which has a large number of industries.

“Inspectors from each fire station are carrying out inspections in the areas they cover, to check if the industrial facilities are complying with the fire-safety regulations.”

Sharjah has recently had a particular focus on intensive fire prevention measures, which Colonel Al Naqbi believed are working: “Fire incidence rate has dropped in Sharjah over the past several years and we hope to reduce it further this year.”

According to him, only one errant company has been made to pay for the firefighting charges this year, compared to 12 last year. He said that awareness campaigns had helped reduce fire incidents by seven per cent in the emirate and led to increased safety for buildings, with 175 incidents of fire recorded in the first half of 2021.