Smoke alarms to be compulsory in Sharjah from next year

Sharjah Civil Defence said that from 2018 all new apartments and villas must have smoke detectors installed throughout as a way of adding an extra layer of protection for tenants and their families.

Sharjah will be the first emirate in the country to make smoke detectors mandatory in all homes. Satish Kumar / The National
Powered by automated translation

SHARJAH // Fire safety experts and residents have welcomed a ruling that makes smoke alarms compulsory in all homes built in the emirate from next year.

Sharjah Civil Defence said that as of 2018 all new apartments and villas must have smoke detectors throughout to increase protection for tenants.

“It will serve as an early detection mechanism and help limit casualties, whether it’s human or material, ” said Lt Col Sami Al Naqbi, head of the General Directorate of Civil Defence.

Sharjah will be the first emirate to make smoke detectors a requirement in all homes, said Lt Col Al Naqbi. At the moment, using smoke alarms is optional.

“We hope other emirates follow our lead.”

Before the rules take effect, civil defence will install 1,000 smoke alarms free of charge in homes across the emirate.

Officers will take fire safety awareness to shoppers at Sahara mall this week, before heading to the central and eastern regions.

Emma Button, a fire and safety expert, said the new regulations were a “fantastic step forward in reducing fires”.

“I think the legislation should be enforced to make sure everyone complies with it,” she said. “Once installed, these devices need to be checked regularly to make sure they are operational. Tenants need to change the batteries and check they’re operational on a monthly or quarterly basis.

“It would be great if companies selling these detectors could send an email, text message or call their customers to remind them to check the detectors,” she said.

Residents also welcomed the new regulations.

“There have been several fires in buildings over the years. Making these alarms compulsory will give us a sense of security should the building’s fire alarms malfunction, or if the fire occurs while sleeping,” said Palestinian Raji Hammad, who lives in a 12th floor flat in Al Buheira.

Al Qasimiya resident Nasim Ahmad, 28, said the detectors would be very helpful.

“If the alarm starts in one (flat) it might be heard in others, which would alert us all,” said the Egyptian salesman.