The Ministry of Interior continued its nationwide Ramadan Councils on Thursday evening, under the theme “Civil Defense and Public safety Sector”. The main topic included two different themes, notably, firefighting, national ambulance and public safety, through the mechanism adopted by the Ministry of Interior to provide high quality public safety services to the public. The second theme tackled the different challenges incurred by the ministry in the civil defense and public safety sector. It focused on the need to boost social awareness to prevent public safety incidents, protect children, raise awareness on public safety guidelines among domestic workers, and safety in the workplace.    

The councils are organized at the countrywide level by the Law Respect Culture Bureau at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; under the theme “Innovation through Dialogue”, in collaboration with the Security Media Department. This year’s topics shed the light on the MoI’s services across its five different sectors; notably ‘police and interrogation centers’; civil defense and public safety’; Naturalization and Foreigners’ Affairs’; Traffic and Licensing; community protection and crime prevention.  

During the council, which was held at the residence of Emirati citizen Khalifa Mohamed Al Khaili in the city of Al Ain, and moderated by media figure Faisal bin Huraiz, participants stressed the need to reinforce collaboration between the Directorate General of Civil Defense and the different media entities. As a part of this collaboration, awareness messages would be intensified to acquaint community members with the guidelines and standards for fire safety and prevention in the home; and promote awareness among domestic workers on the proper ways to handle home-related incidents through education-appropriate training courses and brochures in different languages. Participants also called for integrating civil defense material in educational curricula, to boost safety education among students and support awareness-raising efforts regarding safety and prevention requirements.
Speaking at the council, Lt. Colonel Mohammed Abdul Jalil Abdullah Ahmed Al Ansari, Director General of Civil Defense in Abu Dhabi, shed the light on the leading causes of fires. He said: “The majority of home fires are caused by overloaded sockets and adaptors and by electric appliances that are operating continuously. Electric glitches may also ignite fires due to the use of bad quality switches, non-original products or self-made electricity connections.” He also talked about industrial fires, which are mainly caused by failure to comply with safety requirements in these areas. “To promptly respond and handle industrial fires, the Directorate General of Civil Defense – Abu Dhabi has issued an updated plan to reassign the geographic jurisdiction of the different civil defense stations, to service all areas in a timely manner and record time. A new project will also be initiated, by which incident sites are identified via interactive maps, in coordination with the Operations Room and the field patrols,” he continued.

Speakers at the council discussed several issues related to civil defense and public safety, notably the safety systems required for residential buildings. They also emphasized the importance of mock evacuation drills carried out by civil defense departments at the different government facilities and institutions.

The council, which was held at the residence of Emirati citizen Khalifa Mohamed Al Khaili in the city of Al Ain, was attended by Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Hammoud Saeed Al Afari, Deputy Director of the Law Respect Culture Bureau, along with a number of officers and a large crowd of citizens.

Advanced firefighting systems

Major General Expert Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Civil Defense Director General in Dubai, confirmed that the higher leadership dedicates significant importance to the civil defense sector in its quest to maintain the safety and security of society. He explained that civil defense departments provide their services to all areas across the country and the UAE is one of the few countries that apply an advanced code of practice for fire safety and prevention in buildings.  “The main tasks carried out by the Civil Defense include protection, prevention, and control. Laws have been promulgated and standards have been established with the aim of developing the set of methods to deal with fire incidents, according to the latest global standards,” he said.

These remarks were made by Major General Al Matroushi in his speech at the council hosted by Dr. Ahmed Al Sayed Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Drugs, in his residence in Dubai. The council, which is a part of the MoI Ramadan Councils, was moderated by media figure Sami Al Riyami.

Speakers in the council called for reinforcing awareness among community members on the optimal use of energy sources inside homes, businesses, and institutions and efficient energy use to alleviate pressure on national electricity and prevent fires that may result from electrical loads. Participants in the council also urged parents to supervise children at all times, keep them away of dangerous places, and follow safety and prevention instructions in order to protect lives and properties.

Moreover, they discussed the electronic systems used in combating fires and their role in handling emergency incidents and reducing losses. Additionally, they tackled the importance of training civil defense cadres and raising their efficiency to empower them to handle various types of incidents, as well as the importance of awareness campaigns, which should target all community segments.

Unifying Efforts

Colonel Dr. Salah Obeid Al Ghoul, Director of Law Respect Culture Bureau, at the General Secretariat of the Office of His Highness Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior, highlighted the different services offered by the Ministry of Interior and the challenges. He also shed the light on the role of the awareness-raising Ramadan Councils in upgrading these services and providing solutions to the potential obstacles and challenges that were tackled in previous councils. He said: “These recommendations are sent directly to Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, who issued his directives to implement them promptly. This demonstrates the leadership’s commitment to involve community members in decision-making through such councils, which represent the link between the leadership and society.

Another council was hosted by Citizen Tamim Al Riyami at his residence in Sharjah, and moderated by media figure Ali Al Shamesi. The participants in the Council underscored the importance of joint action and concerted efforts between the Ministry of Interior and government and private institutions towards raising community awareness and diversifying public-oriented education and awareness means and methods. They also called for avoiding all types of rumors, which yield adverse effects on both citizens and residents.

In his speech during the council, Brigadier Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Sharjah Civil Defense, gave an overview of the technically distinguished level attained by  the Civil Defense Sector in terms of equipment used and the readiness of the highly qualified and skilled personnel, trained according to the highest standards. Brigadier Al Suwaidi also tackled the leading causes of fires, notably  neglect and misuse of electricity and gas.

Speakers at the council reiterated the readiness of the national ambulance staff members, speed of response, and the sophisticated devices they use while performing the tasks assigned to them. They also reviewed the intelligent systems used by the Civil Defense to combat fires.

Training Schools’ Students

Participants attending the Ramadan council, which was hosted by Emirati citizen Abdurrahman Al Amine in Ajman and moderated by media figure Abdullah Ismail, called for organizing civil defense training courses for students of advanced academic stages to get acquainted with first aid and firefighting methods. Furthermore, they noted that the domestic education initiative should be organized throughout the year. This initiative aims to educate housewives and domestic workers on the means of using fire extinguishers and first aid techniques. They also called for better coordination in urban planning for high-rise buildings and towers.

Brigadier Sheikh Sultan Bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Commander-in-Chief of Ajman Police, expressed his sincere thanks to the host of the council and the attendees. He also underlined the positive role played by the Ramadan councils in tackling and discussing different  views and opinions between citizens and relevant entities.

Brigadier Saleh Al Matroushi, Director General of the Civil Defense in Ajman, noted that the UAE ranks fourth globally in terms of safety and security. “The Ministry of Interior has paid great attention to the Civil Defense Sector. The urban development witnessed by the Emirate is subject to the approval of the Civil Defense, and stipulates the need to implement safety and prevention specifications and requirements,” he noted.

Adding further, Brigadier Al Matroushi indicated that educating community members on the appropriate means to protect themselves and their properties is a top priority for the Civil Defense sector in the UAE. To this end, several outreach plans  are being implemented, through field visits to government and public educational institutions.

The speakers addressed a number of topics related to the Civil Defense and public safety sector, including qualifying and raising the efficiency of human cadres through specialized courses, and periodically assessing the readiness of civil defense members.

Civil Defense and Curricula

Dr. Jassem Abdullah bin Omair hosted a Ramadan Council at his residence  in Umm Al Quwain. The council, which  was moderated by media figure Rashid Al kharji, was attended by Brigadier Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla, Commander-in-Chief of Umm Al Quwain Police, along with a number of officers and residents of the emirate. Participants in the Council called for including  scientific courses in the educational curricula on the appropriate methods to handle potential hazards that occur due to fires and accidents. Moreover, they stressed the importance of getting acquainted with the guidelines on the use of fire extinguishers in vehicles, and the need to educate trainees at  drivers rehabilitation centers on the need to make way for the passage of Civil Defense and Ambulance vehicles.

The participants stressed the importance of allowing Civil Defense members to timely and promptly reach the incident scene. They also highlighted the tasks assigned to the Civil Defense as of the moment of receiving the report, to the firefighting process, and saving potential victims. They also noted that Civil Defense members ensure the proper implementation of safety and prevention guidelines within the different facilities. They also commended the National Ambulance Company’s efforts to provide distinguished ambulance service at the countrywide level.

Preventive Awareness

The participants attending the Ramadan Council hosted by Emirati citizen Salem Saeed Al Qayidi at  his residence in Ras Al Khaimah, and moderated by media figure Hamed bin Karam, called for disseminating preventive awareness in  society as a tool to prevent and combat  fire hazards. They also called for training housewives, domestic workers and farm workers on the means of dealing with fires. Moreover, they recommended establishing a civil defense center in remote areas, especially the southern areas of Ras Al Khaimah, and deploying national ambulance company’s vehicles in remote areas to ensure prompt and timely response in case of emergencies and accidents.

In his speech at the council, Brigadier Mohammed Abdullah Al Zaabi, Director of the Civil Defense Department in Ras Al Khaimah, indicated that the key objective of the civil defense is to ensure community safety, and to raise  awareness among the various segments and age groups so as to preserve their lives and properties. “Spreading awareness is instrumental in reducing the rates of fire incidents,” he said. Moreover, the Director of the Civil Defense Department in Ras Al Khaimah gave an overview of the different tasks undertaken by the Civil Defense Department, which include, besides firefighting;  implementing public safety procedures in public and private facilities, and issuing permits about the validity of vehicles that transport hazardous material.

The speakers in the Council stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of windows and balconies, to prevent children from falling to their death. They also underlined the need to ensure occupational health and safety in the workplace.

Public Safety Requirements

Participants attending the Suhail Obaid Al Hafiti Council in Fujairah, which was moderated by media figure Talal Al Hindasi, stressed the need to reinforce community members’ awareness on the different tools and methods to ensure compliance with public safety and prevention requirements to prevent fire-related risks. They also stressed on the importance of engaging private sector in some of the civil defense training.

Participants also pointed out that all civil defense departments across the UAE are operated by highly skilled and professional personnel, and have the most advanced equipment and vehicles. Participants stressed the need to raise community members’ awareness about the diligent efforts exerted by the civil defense to ensure their protection and safety.

For his part, Citizen Al Hafiti praised the efforts made by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in fostering awareness on the fundamental tasks of police and security sectors, in order to ensure community safety and security. He also commended the vital role of the MoI Ramadan Councils in enhancing public awareness.

Colonel Ali Obeid Al Tunaiji, Director General of the Fujairah Civil Defense Department, discussed the awareness programs and services provided by civil defense departments to the public. He also noted that civil defense personnel are efficient, professional, and highly skilled. “They show a spirit of initiative, rapid response, precision at work and high sense of responsibility. They also use modern techniques in performing the tasks assigned to them,” he continued.

Additionally, participants tackled the need to educate domestic workers on the proper methods and procedures to ensure public safety. They also discussed the role of companies and firms to protect workers and employees; and the procedures that should be taken against slackers.

First Aid Knowledge

Participants attending the women council, hosted by Baynah Salem Al Rashidi at her residence in Abu Dhabi and moderated by media figure Nadia Barakat, recommended organizing awareness programs and campaigns on public safety and prevention standards, especially designed for people with special needs. Parents should also be trained on prevention methods and ways to deal with emergency cases, particularly the basics of first aid, which are a valuable tool to save lives and relieve injuries. Speakers at the council also called upon the civil defense entities to intensify awareness campaigns in remote areas, and to post the prevention and protection guidelines that need to be implemented in cases of fire and other accidents on the internet.

Participants noted that the number of fires is significantly dropping due to the strategic measures undertaken by civil defense departments, particularly the community awareness campaigns. Such campaigns are instrumental in fostering preventive awareness among all community segments, especially students, workers at industrial facilities, and government and private institutions’ employees. They also tackled the leading causes of fires, including failure to comply with safety precautions and prevention standards issued by the civil defense for buildings and facilities, in addition to neglect of safety procedures at residential apartments.

Another women’s council was held by Rawda Al Riyasiah at her residence in Ajman, and was moderated by media figure Rasha Al Shimmari. Participants at the Council called for training domestic workers on first aid skills and the proper methods to handle emergency situations in homes. Speakers also called for integrating prevention and safety procedures into curricula for all educational levels. They also praised the role of the MoI’s Ramadan councils in spreading and fostering awareness among all community segments.

Investing in Competencies

During the Ahmed Al Sudain council in the city of Al Ain, participants discussed the book authored by Hamad Salem Saeed Al Sudain, President of the Arab African Organization for Real Estate and Commercial Investment Development (AAORCID), and titled “Investing in Competencies in the United Arab Emirates and the World”. The council is a part of the nationwide awareness councils organized by the are organized by the Law Respect Culture Bureau at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

Media figure Rashed Al Nuaimi, of the office of Al Khaleej newspaper in Al Ain, moderated the council, which was also attended by Federal National Council (FNC) member, Salem bin Rakkad Al Ameri, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Shamesi, and a number of specialists. Participants stressed the need to dedicate attention and adopt the ideas submitted by creative individuals; to encourage brainstorming and training of innovative competent national cadres. The Council noted that the UAE gives top priority to invest in competencies, by encouraging innovative and creative people.
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