Install fire detectors in your home for the safety of your loved ones, people urged
September 29, 2018 | 9:33 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Officials have urged families to install fire alarms in their houses as they can save lives.

On Thursday morning, 10 people died — eight of them children — in a house fire that took place in Khor Al Hamam village in the wilayat of Saham.

Read here: Family of 10 suffocates to death in Oman house fire

An official at the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) told the Times of Oman, “Families should install fire alarms in their houses as they can save lives. Many fires occur due to faulty, counterfeit and ageing items. So please, install a smoke alarm or more for your own safety and for that of your family.”

“PACDA is fully-equipped to handle any fires and its response time is in accordance with international standards. Such fire detectors can be quickly installed in any residential area,” the official added.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined as samples were taken from the incident spot for testing, he added. The incident marks the greatest number of casualties killed in a domestic fire.

According to Saham Municipality, residents in the area can call an emergency number affiliated with their electricity company in case of suspected fire hazards. An official at Saham Municipality said, “When there is an electrical issue in the house that can cause a safety problem, civilians are advised to contact their electricity company, under which there is an emergency section. If something happens, the safety section of the company can then check the residence for things such as overloading.”

In Oman, new commercial buildings need to be inspected for fire hazards and safety in coordination with PACDA.

“Currently, residences do not need to have fire alarms installed. That might change depending on the new regulation, and PACDA has expressed an interest in having such a system for residences. However, it has yet to be implemented,” he added. “If that is to be implemented, then we would need to have a regulation drafted from the proper authorities.”

According to the Wali of Saham, who visited the home, “The house was small and old and constituted of around two rooms and a kitchen.”

“I believe it was an older house,” the municipality said. “For newer houses, a consultant will have a detailed electric plan for the house. As the building is nearing completion, we give them a certificate that allows electricity to be supplied. So, for a new house, the company will not supply power if there is a problem with the loading or wiring. It would tell them to first fix the issue. As for commercial buildings, PACDA will have to be involved before power is supplied.”

According to Saham Hospital, the ages of the deceased were between 1 and 49. “They were all brothers and sisters aged 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 13, 15 and 18, in addition to the parents. Two siblings remain, one of whom is now in the hospital. They were in colleges and were called in later,” an official from Saham Hospital said. The mother was 40, and the father was 49 years old.

Police have confirmed the ages of the deceased. The official added, “We received the bodies at Saham Hospital around 5 in the morning. The cause of death was suffocation for 10 individuals. Most were children, the sons and daughters of a 40- and 49-year-old mother and father. They were mostly devoid of burn marks.” Police and rescue officials said in a statement, “We received a report at 4:25 am and rushed to the scene of the fire, only to find 10 deceased individuals from the same family.”

In July, four Omanis died in a fire incident in Nizwa province, including two boys, their father and a female relative.

In November 2017, eight women were killed and one person sustained considerable injuries as a fire engulfed a house in Al Salam area of Barka. The deceased included a mother, 35, and her five daughters aged between 7 and 15, her sister, 28, and the housemaid, who was an African national.

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