Smoke detectors must for all new buildings

MUSCAT, Sept 29 – The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) has advised all builders to install smoke detectors in houses under construction. Ten members of a family, including eight children, were found dead inside a house in the Wilayat of Saham a few days ago. They died due to suffocation. PACDA had made installation of fire alarms/detectors mandatory for commercial establishments seeking fitness certificate. Now, there are calls for installation of such devices in all the new residential buildings as well as the existing ones.

According to fire safety experts, midnight fires at homes can be disastrous as residents could die in their sleep due to asphyxiation. “Smoke detectors can prevent such incidents,” says Mohammed Ahmed, a fire and rescue trainer at a college in Muscat. “When there is a fire in a house at midnight, the family will unknowingly be inhaling carbon monoxide instead of oxygen, which can be fatal,” he says.

“The smoke and the darkness must have played havoc with the family members,” he said, referring to the Saham incident. A fire alarm, with a decibel level of 85, is enough to wake up the family members from sleep in the event of a fire, he said. Meanwhile, PACDA officials urged the people to exercise caution while handling household appliances. “We urge the people to use genuine electrical fittings,” said a senior PACDA official. “Never leave any electrical gadgets unattended and switch off air-conditioners or heaters when not in use. Keep children away from electrical devices” he added.