Strict safety guidelines for iftar tents to be enforced across Abu Dhabi

Owners of tents who are in breach of fire-safety rules face fines of Dh10,000 and companies are told they stand to lose their licences to operate.

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ABU DHABI // Families and businesses setting up tents for iftar meals have been warned of strict safety and licensing procedures in place this Ramadan.

Municipalities in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and Civil Defence have said those in breach of the rules may face fines of up to Dh10,000, and companies setting up the tent could have their licences revoked.

The move comes after a youth, 16, last week died in a blaze in a tent at his home in Al Shamkha, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

Capt Abdullah Al Tamimi, head of customer service and public relations at Abu Dhabi Civil Defence, told The National's Arabic-language sister paper, Al Ittihad, that firefighters had discovered the youth's body.

Capt Al Tamimi said the tent contained electric equipment.

So far, Al Ain and Al Shahama municipalities have issued a combined 180 licences for temporary iftar tents.

Al Ain Municipality's emergency department said four tent-safety breaches were found last Ramadan but it would increase the number of inspectors this month to ensure rules were followed.

"These inspectors have to compile daily reports of these tents and submit them to the department, rating them on scale of good, better and best," said Saeed Al Kaabi, the department's manager.

"If any violations are found from the company involved in erecting the tent, its licence will be cancelled and it will not be allowed to carry out such activities in future."

Some of the safety precautions include maintaining a distance of 50 centimetres between internal lighting and the tent's fabrics; not using any part of the tents for storage; and ensuring electrical wiring is insulated within protective tubes and fitted with an automatic circuit breaker.

Mr Al Kaabi said anyone found cooking in undesignated places would be fined by the municipality and the Department of Economic Development.

Civil Defence yesterday called on the public to cooperate with the measures it has brought in for the holy month.

Maj Gen Rashed Al Matrushi, acting commander in chief, urged residents to observe safety measures in their homes and Ramadan tents.

Gen Al Matrushi said failure to observe safety measures in home kitchens was a main cause of fire, especially with lack of maintenance of gas stoves, which wear out easily.

He also warned against neglecting incense burners as they heat up quickly and take a long time cool.

They must not be used inside wardrobes or be left within the reach of children.

Gen Al Matrushi said those setting up Ramadan tents need special authorisation from, and inspections by, Civil Defence.

"The municipality has issued more than 100 permits for erecting temporary Iftar tents so far," said Mohammed Al Mansouri, head of Al Shahama Municipality.

Civil Defence has published the list of rules for iftar tents this Ramadan, including that heat-generating devices such as stoves and heaters must not be used inside.

Generators for air conditioners must be installed outside, at least 1.5 metres from the tent, and each air conditioner must be fitted with its own circuit breaker.

Internal decorations and fabrics must be treated with flame retardants and tents must be equipped with enough nine-litre water fire extinguishers.

One or more safety officers must be appointed to monitor dangers, and they must be trained in emergency procedures and have access to phones to call Civil Defence.

There must be at least 4 metres between tents, the surrounds of which must be cleared for a radius of at least 3 metres