Warehouse operators issued fire prevention warning
The logistics industry must improve its warehouse maintenance standards in the Middle East to avoid electrical fires, according to research by Duval Messien.
The company, which specialises in earthing systems, has warned that a spate of recent warehouse fires in the region might be linked with poor adherence to electrical fault prevention. In contrast, regions such as Europe have benefited from their stringent attitude towards maintenance protocols, with a comparably lower number of warehouse fires.
"Temperatures in Dubai can sometimes hit a sweltering 500C in summer months, so its not uncommon for earthing puts to dry up in less than three months," said Sonjib Banerjee, technical director at Duval Messien. "This increases the risk of warehouse fires, with even a single spark being capable of rapidly spreading and causing significant damage to cargo."
Over 60% of respondents to a recent survey by Duval Messien were unaware that conventional earthing systems can become redundant or ineffective over time. In addition, 80% were unsure when their earthing system was last checked.
"We support authorities such as Dubai Civil Defence, which has announced a recent campaign to tighten its regulations for warehouse safety following the fires in Al Quoz industrial area earlier this year," said Banerjee.
"This initiative is expected to intensify the inspection process for companies, buildings and work sites to ensure that they are complying with the safety rules and storage conditions, especially in terms of flammable materials and explosives such as firecrackers, chemicals and gas cylinders."
Banerjee's comments follow a recent string of devastating fires in Dubai, including the aforementioned blaze at an illegal fireworks warehouse in Al Quoz, which killed at least eight people and destroyed dozens of buildings. In response, Dubai Civil Defence has issued guidelines to companies operating in the emirate, with recommendations including the training of personnel to properly use fire extinguishers, regular inspections of fire fighting systems, a direct connection to alarm systems and the avoidance of random storage.
"Fire incidents occurring recently do not indicate an unusual surge in the number of warehouse fires compared to previous years," said Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director of Dubai Civil Defence.
"On the contrary, the number and size of warehouses has dramatically increased because of the huge economic activity in Dubai. However, flouting safety measures is the main cause of fires in warehouses."