Residential home owners in the UAE must install fire detectors

Owners of existing homes will have three years to ensure they meet the regulations

Some alarms are easy to install. Courtesy: Ajman Civil Defence
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All residential homeowners must install fire alarms in their houses, the government has said.

The UAE Cabinet has approved the move which will be applied to all existing and planned residences.

Homeowners will also have to sign up to an e-alert system that will send notifications to the civil defence, Wam reported.

Installing fire alarms and signing up for the e-alert system is mandatory in new properties, while owners of existing homes will have three years to ensure they meet the regulations.

"The initiative is of benefit to the entire UAE,” said Alexander Castellanos, head of fire safety for engineering firm WPS.

"Due to our mega projects, iconic building and skyscrapers, I think there is a perception by the general population that these are the places of focus for fire safety. However, fire can impact all structures, including villas," he said.

Smoke detector mounted on roof in apartment
Smoke detector mounted on roof in apartment

Fires in homes over the past two years caused the death of 68 people, which accounted for 66 per cent of the total number of building and facility fires in 2019, Wam said.

"This certainly will be able to help in enhancing the fire safety of our homes," said Mr Castellanos

The e-alert system, known as Hassantuk, was first introduced in 2018, but participation was optional. The system has many functions including verifying the alarm and providing the exact location of the fire and fastest route to reach it

Under the terms of the new resolution, federal and local authorities must ensure alarms are installed and the owner has subscribed to the e-alert system before granting building completion certificates.

Additionally, federal and local governments will bear the costs of installing these devices in homes for people with limited income.

Mr Castellanos said the new resolution is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 to make the country one of the safest in the world.

The issue of fire safety came into sharp focus last year following a series of incidents.

An eight-month-old girl died in a fire in Dubai, while eight were rescued from a blaze in Ajman prompting that emirate's fire chief to urge homeowners to have the devices fitted.

At the time fire experts also urged everyone to install some detectors.

“It’s usually easy enough to install it yourself and in most cases the buildings can be retrofitted quite easily too,” said Andy Dean, head of facades at WSP.

“I know if it was me, living in a house or apartment with my family, I wouldn’t think twice about popping out to buy some smoke detectors to install them around my home."