'Negligence causes fires at labour accommodation'

Officials from Oman's Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance say labour negligence leads to fire at their accommodations, adding residential fires have increased in the Sultanate this year, compared to 2014

Fires are caused due to negligence, officials have said. [Representational Image]
Fires are caused due to negligence, officials have said. [Representational Image]

The number of residential fires in Oman has increased as compared to last year, an official from Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) confirmed.

“There have been 188 more cases [of residential fires] in various parts of the Sultanate this year compared to last year, when 1,763 cases were reported,” Lieutenant Saud Rashid Al Saadi, an officer from PACDA's industrial protection department, said. 

PACDA is also the body in charge of fire safety licenses in the Sultanate.

The organisation issues licenses to contractors building temporary labour camps or caravans, which are usually made of wood. 

According to local daily Times of Oman, PACDA witnesses incidents of fire from labour camps.

Lieutenant Hussein bin Ali Al-Ramahi, an officer from PACDA's hazardous substances department, said:  “Transportation of labour camps is a factor as they could be damaged.

"Most fires are caused due to the negligence of labourers at these camps.

“Additionally, we have regulations, such as a ban on the use of gas at these camps to prevent accidents,” he continued. 

Residential buildings reported 30% of the fire incidents, the most by any sector.

These were followed by transportation, agricultural, and other establishments.

“We are exerting efforts to reduce and hopefully prevent these cases by issuing regulations to these establishments," Al Saadi said.

"Every six months, a patrol will inspect these establishments mainly for the validation of licences, as well as inspect the maintenance of firefighting equipment or ensure they receive new equipment."

Al Ramahi said the Sultante is working to increase awareness about diligence and the drawbacks of ignoring fire safety basics.

“Being a public administration for three years before becoming a public authority, we know that awareness is not enough and it does not always turn out the way you want it to because awareness is a bit limited," he said, as per the report. 

“But for the past three years, we have been creating awareness to a great extent and we know it needs something extra to make it more effective,” Al Ramahi added.

Both men were speaking at a conference announcing Oman Exhibition on Fire, Safety and Security and Cyber Security Conference, to be held at the Oman Exhibition Centre, between 14 and 16 September, 2015. 

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