Companies that set up the tents were instructed to strictly follow the prescribed fire safety standards.
The Sharjah and Ajman Civil Defence departments have launched a crackdown on illegal and unsafe Ramadan and private tents across the two emirates. The departments are carrying out inspections to nail those who are found violating fire safety measures in these tents.
The officials said the practice of pitching up Ramadan tents is an integral part of the UAE tradition. As Ramadan approaches, many individuals, as well as organisations, set up tents that become a hub for various religious and social activities throughout the holy month. People put up these tents in open spaces and entrances of their houses to receive guests and offer them Ramadan meals. The departments, in coordination with authorities concerned, are committed to ensure safety and prevention measures in all these tents, they pointed out.
Col Sami al Naqbi, director-general of Sharjah Civil Defence, said the inspection targeting the Ramadan tents started two days ahead of the holy month and will continue until Eid. The inspectors make sure all tents are following fire safety requirements to prevent any accidents, he added. Last year, no fire mishaps in tents were reported during Ramadan, Naqbi said.
He explained that in order to avert incidents of fire, Sharjah Civil Defence has asked all establishments and individuals wishing to set up Ramadan tents to visit the prevention and safety departments to confirm that they comply with fire safety measures.
Lt Col Faisal Mohammed Alshaibah, deputy-director of civil protection and safety in Ajman Civil Defence, said the department is on standby for responding to fire emergency in tents during the holy month.
The inspection section of Ajman Civil Defence, in coordination with the municipality, are pouncing on tents that are found flouting security and safety norms. The violators will face stiff penalties for failing to follow the rules posing risk to others.
Al Shaibah pointed out that the crackdown is covering all kinds of tents set up throughout the emirate, whether for weddings, or iftar. The tent owners must obtain approval of Ajman Municipality before pitching them up, he emphasised. Tents may not be used for storage and use of heat-generating equipment such as ovens, heaters and cooking stoves are prohibited inside them.
Tent safety norms
Officials said companies that set up the tents were instructed to strictly follow the prescribed fire safety standards. The prevention and safety requirements differ from one tent to another depending on its purpose, specific requirements and materials used for manufacturing them. The fabrics, decorations, and materials of the tents should be fire-resistant and must be sprayed with flame-resistant liquid.
The electric bulbs should not touch the fabric of the tent or its columns directly and the distance between them should not be less than 40 centimetre. The tent site should be away from electrical transformers as well as cooking areas, and all forms of smoking must be prohibited inside closed tents. In case of setting up a kitchen or a source of fire, it must be kept at least 20 meters away from the tent. Electrical cables must be placed inside plastic hoses, and automatic electric circuit breakers should be installed. Sufficient number of fire extinguishers according to the size of the tent as well as buckets of sand should be kept inside it. Emergency exits – marked in both Arabic and English – should be provided for closed and air-conditioned Ramadan tents. There must be at least three emergency exits in case of large tents. Each air conditioning machine should have an automatic electric circuit breaker. Employees responsible for the security of Ramadan tents should know how to use a fire extinguisher and water hoses. They should also be familiar with evacuation operations and communication and coordination procedures with the civil defence.
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