Electrical faults behind one third of fire accidents in Oman

Oman Tuesday 07/June/2016 21:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Electrical faults behind one third of fire accidents in Oman

Muscat: Electrical faults accounted for a third of all fires in 2015, and a rise in the number of fires last year kept the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) busy.
The highest number of cases last year was recorded in Muscat Governorate, officials reported.
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Fires caused by electrical malfunctions made up for 1,225 of the total incidents PACDA officers had to respond to in 2015, while heat transfers made up for the second-most common reason, with 1,018 instances recorded. Connection to a heat source was the third most common fault, with 743 cases recorded, according to PACDA’s annual data for 2015.
Civil defence officers responded to 3,684 fire cases last year, compared with 3,335 in 2014. This reflects an increase of 349 fire cases from a couple of years back.
The Muscat Governorate recorded the highest number of cases with 1,036, while North Al Batinah Governorate recorded 960 fire incidents, making them the two regions with the highest number of cases in the Sultanate.
Anthony Cole, technical director at the Aman Fire Protection Consultancy, said electrical faults are the number one cause of fire around the world, as well as in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“Most electrical fires in the GCC and most parts of the world are caused by the improper use of an electrical cord/extension cord instead of permanent wiring. Another cause of electrical fires common to this area is the improper termination of electrical wires, or using wires that are too small for the electrical load,” said Cole.
“Many other factors that lead to electrical fires involving wiring also include using non-listed electrical power strips, improper wiring installation, and the poor quality of electrical wiring,” he added.
Houses topped the list,, with 876 houses set ablaze,and while summer has begun and temperatures are steadily rising, people will tend to use air conditioners more, with the risks of fires by electrical faults rising.
“AC units should be cleaned, filters replaced and to ensure that the AC unit should be installed on a circuit that has ample capacity to operate the unit,” said Cole about maintaining air conditioners to prevent electrical faults.
To identify irregularities in circuits, Cole said, “If you experience many circuit breaker trips, or notice an unusual colour change in the wiring cover, these are indications of potential future electrical wiring faults. Other signs of potential wiring failures include wiring that is hot to touch, unusual smells, and problem with the equipment that the electrical wire is being used for.”
PACDA officials responded to 51 incidents in the Musandam Governorate and seven in the Al Wusta Governorate, making them the two lowest incidence regions in Oman.
Residential establishments topped the list of types of fires, where 1,126 residences were affected followed by a residue of 769 and vehicles at 743. Industrial and oil establishments only reported 35 and 10 fire incidents respectively.