Brig Abdullah Mohammed Al Suwaidi
DOHA: Licences of commercial facilities that fail to fulfil the safety requirements will not be renewed, a senior official of the Civil Defence Department has said.
Brig Abdullah Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director of Civil Defence, said that the new rule had helped improve the safety of all shopping centres in the country.
“All our commercial centres are now safe because we have set safety requirements and an approval from civil defence inspectors as a condition for licence renewal,” said Al Suwaidi, in an interview with a local Arabic daily. He said efforts by the department to improve safety and security at malls, hotels and other commercial centres have met with a positive response.
Many of these facilities have signed contracts for continuous maintenance and check up under the supervision of the Civil Defence Department.
He said electrical short circuits continue to be the main cause of fire incidents in Qatar and 80 percent of deaths in such incidents were caused by suffocation. “Now there is more awareness among people on how to use fire exits (during an emergency),” said Al Suwaidi. He said the response time of Civil Defence personnel in Qatar is well within the global average of six to 10 minutes.
“Earlier, we were facing difficulties in reaching places but the situation has improved with opening of several new civil defence stations across the country,” said the official. “We have redistributed our stations on the national level to cope with the expansion of cities and residential and industrial areas,” he added.
A new station will open in Thumama next year that will serve the population in and around that area. This was supposed to open this year, but the project has been delayed due to a change in the plan to make the facility bigger.
New civil defence stations are under construction in The Pearl Qatar and Mesaieed and another facility will be set up in Lusail by 2015. The civil defence headquarters in Wadi Al Sail is equipped with latest technology and qualified engineers and other technical experts, said the official.