High-tech control room gives Civil Defence overview of fire safety in Dubai

As part of a testing phase, operators monitored huge screens inside the control room at the authority’s headquarters showing live feeds and data from buildings across Downtown Dubai, Deira, Bur Dubai, Jebel Ali, the airports and from ships out at sea.

DUBAI // A new Civil Defence control room linked to real-time fire and safety information at airports, ports and commercial buildings will be launched in a few weeks.

As part of a testing phase, operators on Monday monitored huge screens inside the control room at the authority’s headquarters showing live feeds and data from buildings across Downtown Dubai, Deira, Bur Dubai, Jebel Ali, the airports and from ships out at sea.

“All information about the building and the contact number of the person in charge will be with the control room so quick action can be taken in any emergency, such as a fire or gas leak,” said Lt Col Ali Al Mutawa, assistant director general for smart services.

“In case of sensitive buildings that, for instance, contain hazardous material, there is a predetermined set of resources the operator will mobilise.”

Information on flights is beamed with the live feed detecting any emergency.

“The airports are a free zone and are under the airport authority. If any incident related to an air crash happens inside the airport, the airport authority has their own private fire fighting unit and they will be the lead and we will be the back-up,” Lt Col Al Mutawa said.

“But if there is a fire inside any building in any free zone, we will take the lead. If any air crash takes place outside a free zone we will take the lead.”

The development is part of a comprehensive Civil Defence Dubai Life Safety Dashboard framework that began six years ago with mandatory fire alarm systems installed in 53,823 commercial buildings linked to the existing control room.

A related SOS mobile phone application for commercial buildings will go live from Sunday.

This app will allow owners to alert the control room about emergencies through their phones.

“The SOS application helps to monitor the safety condition. Emergency cases can be report-ed at one click of a button. It will improve response time and reduce injuries caused by accidents,” said Maj Gen Rashid Al Matrooshi, director general of Dubai Civil Defence.

“It will help choose equipment needed for a specific incident so we can respond quickly and effectively.”

Apart from a fire, the 24/7 direct alarm system alerts Civil Defence about a gas leak, glitches in the elevator and fire alarms or safety equipment malfunction.

Details about the number of occupants, floor plan, photographs of the building and the quickest route to the unit will be made available to the nearest fire station.

“At the moment the installed direct system does the job but with the new app, the owner can check systems in his building. He can monitor if the fire safety maintenance company is doing a good job and can decide to continue or to change the company,” Lt Col Al Mutawa said.

The goal is for all residential buildings to have similar alarm systems installed over the next two years.

A push towards this goal has begun with more than 700 safety panels installed in private residential buildings with plans for this to grow by next year, he said. Once residential buildings are covered in 2019, direct alarms will be included in private villas.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

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