Source: Pawan Singh / The National
House fires are tragic in and of themselves but when they occur and take the lives of young children, it just makes everything more painful.
According to ABC News, residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and in particular the community of Fujairah, are feeling excruciating loss as a result of an early morning blaze last week that killed seven children ranging in age from 5 to 13 years-old. It was the county’s biggest fire-related tragedy in recent years. The children reportedly died of complications due to smoke inhalation at a local hospital. The mother is the lone surviving family member.
The UAE has been working closely with NFPA for decades to incorporate building and life safety codes in a region that is burgeoning. The government has also stepped up efforts to inform audiences about the importance of fire protection systems. In the wake of last week’s fire, UAE prime minister and vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordered the Civil Defense to install smoke alarms in every citizen’s home, stating that the government will pay for the fire notification units if residents cannot afford to purchase and install them.
The seven young victims of last week’s fire in the coastal community of Dhadna died from suffocation in one room of the family’s home, begging the question, “If there had been smoke alarms and a fire escape plan, would there have been a different outcome?”
The heartbreaking incident in Fujairah illuminates the unwavering need for a full fire and life protection system that includes working smoke alarms, home escape planning, and government leaders proactively educating the public about fire safety.