The deadline for homeowners to install smoke and fire detectors, and subscribe to the UAE e-alert system is January 1.
Originally reported as September 1, the Ministry of Interior clarified that the initial cabinet order from September 2020 only took effect the following January when it was published in the official gazette, therefore starting the three-year implementation period from the beginning of 2021.
This means residents who own villas now have four months to make the required upgrades.
“We urge homeowners to register in the Hassantuk programme and install fire detectors to protect their homes. Homeowners have until January 1 to comply with the cabinet order,” the ministry told The National.
The order applies only to villas, as apartment complexes have the required fire detection systems in place. The law also refers only to owners of villas, meaning landlords would need to arrange installation and subscribe to Hassantuk for each villa they rent out.
"The homeowner is responsible to install the fire alarm system at homes, not the tenants," a ministry official confirmed.
In September 2020, the government approved a fire safety scheme for all existing and planned homes. The decision came after a number of incidents, including an eight-month-old baby who died in a Dubai house fire in July 2019.
Between 2017 and 2019, fires in homes caused 68 deaths and accounted for 66 per cent of building and facility fires in 2019.
More recently, in May, a fire at a villa in Abu Dhabi killed six people and injured seven. The victims were inside when the blaze broke out in the Al Moazaz area, south-east of Abu Dhabi city.
Sharp rise in installations
The ministry said 43,000 detectors had been installed in villas across the country by mid-August. The figures do not include Dubai.
Abdulla Al Ahmed, senior vice president of government sales at etisalat by e&, told The National there has been a surge of interest in Hassantuk as the deadline approaches.
“There is about an increase by 500 per cent of orders received every month from villa owners. This is due to availability of unique features such a native mobile app and enforcement of the Hassantuk mandate by Abu Dhabi municipality as part of the NOC process,” Mr Al Ahmed said.
Etisalat by e& are also offering a Bukhoor mode, so customers can enjoy incense without triggering alarms.
“Etisalat by e& has continued to deliver Hassantuk nationwide across all the Emirates and will cross 50,000 homes installed in the coming month,” Mr Al Ahmed added.
Nazia Mustafa, sales manager of Red Blue Flame Fire Safety and Security Systems, told The National it was receiving between 120 and 150 requests to install fire alarm systems from villa owners every month.
“We install fire alarm systems in all buildings including villas. We are receiving many requests from villa owners across the country,” she said.
“There are a variety of devices used in the system that people can choose. Prices can start from Dh2,000 depending on size of the villa and brands too."
What is Hassantuk?
Owners must sign up to an e-alert system known as Hassantuk that will send notifications of fires to the civil defence.
The system has many functions, including verifying the alarm and providing firefighters with the exact location and fastest road route to the fire.
As more homeowners install fire detectors before the deadline, the civil defence authority is working to reduce the firefighters' response time from six minutes to four.
Signing up to the scheme is mandatory now for new-build properties, but owners of existing homes have until January 1.
How much does it cost?
Hassantuk was introduced in 2018 and initially subscription was optional.
Now, the basic plan starts from just over Dh233 a month for 24 months or there is a one-time payment for Dh5,903, according to the Ministry of Interior website.
The website also allows tailored pricing depending on how many rooms the villa has.
However, a new set of fire alarm detectors is being tested to give homeowners a range of options and prices, reports of a lecture presented by UAE civil defence earlier this year stated.
Federal and local governments will install the e-alert system devices at no charge for low-income households receiving benefits from the Ministry of Community Development and people with villas under the Sharjah housing programme.
Federal and local authorities must ensure alarms are installed and the owner is subscribed to the e-alert system before granting building completion certificates.
Hassantuk uses a radio network with wireless sensors to ensure installation without the need for wiring.
Homeowners can visit the Hassantuk website to apply for the service or call 800 222 20.