Floating firefighting stations may be coming to the Dubai Canal

Floating firefighting stations that will allow civil defence to battle flames from the Dubai Canal will be presented as a new mobile system for firefighting at next week's Intersec conference.

Lt Col Al Al Mutawa explained developments that may shape the future of civil defence in Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National
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DUBAI // Floating firefighting stations that will allow civil defence to tackle blazes from the Dubai Canal may be on their way.

Lt Col Ali Al Mutawa, head of operations at Dubai Civil Defence, said on Tuesday that a model of the stations would be on show at next week’s Intersec conference – a trade fair for security, safety and fire protection.

“They allow us to move easily to cover certain areas in Dubai,” he said.

The advantages and disadvantages would be weighed before the stations are presented as an initiative, Lt Col Al Mutawa said.

Fire fighting boats were first introduced in 1765 in London and have been used worldwide since the 18th century. This year at Intersec, Dubai Civil Defence will focus on smart electronic innovations to make its work more efficient.

“Several apps will be introduced and we are working on establishing an operations centre [at the conference] that is akin to the centre that manages safety and security in Dubai,” said Lt Col Al Mutawa.

Fire safety has been a major issue across the UAE, with blazes damaging a number of buildings in recent years, including the Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

A new UAE Code for Fire Safety will be launched at the conference. It will contain 1,564 pages, more than double the previous edition of 707 pages.

“It contains illustrations and images that facilitate the architects’ work,” Lt Col Al Mutawa said. “The previous edition contained 296 illustrations, the new one contains 784.

“The code is updated once every two years, and the new edition contains more entries, including home alarm systems.”

A code was also introduced for tourist centres and new specifications were given for storing hazardous materials and flammable liquids.

Security is also intensifying across Dubai, with the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (Sira) working on a regulations manual.

“It helps providers and users recognise their responsibilities and obligations,” said Brig Khalifa Al Saleis, Sira’s director general. “We also evaluate systems in areas that aren’t regulated by the law, such as the canal and other landmarks.”

Intersec will also be an opportunity for Dubai Police to learn about and adopt new technology in the field. It has nine programmes and trains more than 8,000 first-level trainees in basic firefighting techniques.

“We are keen to discover the latest techniques to allow us to update our programmes,” said Col Mohammed Thani, the force’s director of the international centre for safety and security.

“We will review these new technologies and assess how to use them in training or in updating our programmes. Dubai is constantly changing so this requires us to ensure that the training is on par with conditions in the emirate.”