New public safety law on way in Bahrain


This will help book culprits accused of not following the recommendations of the civil defence.


Director General of the General Directorate of Civil Defence, Brigadier Khalid Salim Al Absi, told the Tribune yesterday, “It will cover many aspects of the law especially Article 5 not covered presently.


“In fact, now we are coordinating closely with the ministry of Labour, Municipalities and Industry to help in prosecution.



“Recently in a case the Ministry of Labour denied visas to a company because they had not followed the recommendations we had made.



“In another case the landlord of a new building showed us designs for flats on three floors and six shops on the ground floor. There was a fire and two people died. We found that he had converted the ground floor into a restaurant and the fire from the kitchen caused the tragedy.



“We checked our files and presented it to the Public Prosecutor and the guilty party was punished.


“This year the force handled 244 house fires, including 65 in May alone.



“You have to understand we are also fighting a certain mentality. Let us talk about Labour accommodation. We recently visited a brand new building which had a very big kitchen.



“We found over 200 labourers living in that building and each had made arrangements to cook food. They had stoves with kerosene under their beds. You can confiscate the stoves and then what, they will go right back and buy them again.



“To combat this ignorance we are launching a publicity plan. We will have members of the public who have received training from us and will visit houses to educate people on the dangers they can face in their homes.



“The community police will also be actively involved in this. Research has shown that the electric box and the exhaust fans are major reasons for fires.”



Talking about the old building that dot the landscape, the Brigadier said it was not possible to demolish them.



“Where will people stay? We have set up hydrants all over the Kingdom especially in the narrow streets of Manama. There are a lot of inflammable materials in these shops. We are ready to handle any emergency but we have to also educate these people.



“Today the awareness in Europe took years to achieve, I guess we are also in that curve. These awareness campaigns will help us turn the tide,” he said.



With the growing number of skyscrapers in the Kingdom the challenges facing the force were changing. “We are making provisions in the 2008 budget to buy new equipment. There will be special allowances for the research wing as well as chemicals for the decontamination unit.”



Brigadier Khalid also highlighted the growing role of the national committee of disaster management. “The path ahead of us is long and it is a continuous battle. The new buildings are up to date in all safety precautions but the old ones need care.”


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