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‘Relax, the building is sprinkler-protected’

This mindset, says civil defence representative, is the bane of efforts aimed at fire and life safety; the burden of blame, he adds, is on less-safety-minded developers and contractors

| | Sep 25, 2018 | 9:00 am
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Dubai, UAE, 25 September 2018: Whether signing off a newly constructed building or retrofitting an old one, fire safety is always a concern for developers and contractors, said Terry Johnson, Senior Fire Services Advisor, Dubai Civil Defence. He added that retrofitting old buildings is a challenge and must be carried out carefully. Johnson explained: “Often, there are additional factors prescribed to enhance the first reaction to fire safety; however, they must not compromise on integrity. In such cases, the project must be handled and carried out by experienced fire safety professionals, who work with well-engineered solutions.”

Terry Johnson

Pointing out another area of concern with regard to a building’s resilience to fire, Johnson said, “The big debate we have with some of the ‘less-safety-minded’ developers and contractors today, is the belief that if the building is sprinkler protected, other requirements for fire and life safety can be relaxed.” When in fact, he said, the case is often the opposite. Very often, he added, it is the other factors that determine what is necessary for building resilience in fire and life safety. However, Johnson said that the primary cause for such a misconception is lack of awareness of fire safety. He added, “Regulation does go a long way in solving such issues, as do penalties, which are used internationally.” However, he said, “We must consider the environment and think of the demographic of citizens, often with little or no fire-safety education.” The solution, he said, is a substantial fire-safety-awareness campaign, which shows not only the losses but also the successes and physical benefits of buildings that are adequately equipped for fire and life safety.


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