Sharjah: A spate of incidents involving vehicles catching fire on UAE roads have spurred the authorities to raise awareness among road users.
One of the frequently occurring mishaps in the UAE, especially during summers, is vehicles catching fire and this is now the focus of several road-safety campaigns. Police across the UAE were called in to attend to at least ten such incidents over the past few days.
In light of these incidents, forensic experts in Sharjah have urged motorists to conduct regular maintenance checks on their vehicles to prevent fires.
Colonel Adel Al Mazmi, Director-General of the Forensics Laboratory in Sharjah, told Gulf News that most vehicle fires were the result of human negligence.
Col Al Mazmi said the leading causes for such fires, according to investigators, are improper maintenance of electrical systems, illegal modifications to the vehicle and smoking inside the vehicles. Collision between vehicles was also a cause for fire incidents, he added.
“Vehicles involved in an accident can catch fire if the collision affects the fuel-related parts of the vehicle or if there is an electrical spark in the engine, which can ignite a leaking fuel,” he said.
Col Al Mazmi said a fire or explosion during car accidents can result from a spark caused by friction or an electrical charge from the engine. “A spark will result from friction between two solid bodies (two vehicles colliding or a vehicle scraping against the pavement) and the electrical charge is triggered by engine. Generally, the causes of collisions and then explosions or fires are due to either the vehicle or the motorist,” he added.
Lt Col Hani Al Dahmani, Director of the Media and Public Relations Department at Sharjah Civil Defence, said the best way to combat fires is by following simple safety precautions such as regular maintenance of vehicles by specialised technicians, daily monitoring of the car’s water and temperature levels, keeping the fuel tank cap tightly closed to avoid leakage, avoiding smoking inside the vehicle and turning off the engine when filling the fuel tank. Also, a fire extinguisher should always be present in a vehicle, he said. “The vehicle fire incidents were due to a lack of awareness among motorists and car owners about the need to have a fire extinguisher in the vehicle, as well as failure to perform regular [vehicle] maintenance checks,” he added.
Sharjah Civil Defence also has put in place a comprehensive plan to control fire incidents during the summer. Lt Col Al Dahmani has urged Sharjah residents to ensure that the transformers and electrical connections in buildings are functioning efficiently. People should avoid the use of poor-quality electrical cables or extension plugs for appliances/devices such as refrigerators, heaters, air-conditioners and suction fans.
Lt Col Al Dahmani also stressed the need to ensure the availability of safety equipment for cookers and examine all electrical and gas connections at home and to get any fault repaired by professional technicians only.
Sharjah Civil Defence has launched a safety awareness [online and on field] drive and distributed brochures at the borders of the emirate, including safety measures for tyres and instructions on how to maintain safety in vehicles.
Forensic expert reveals primary causes behind fires in cars:
Improper maintenance of electrical systems
Faulty manual connections
Fuel leakage — the presence of a heat source
Sabotage with the intention of exacting revenge
To make a fraudulent insurance claim
Disagreements or quarrels between people
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