Official outlines of Kuwait’s fire safety sector

Site supervisors “are responsible for most” fire incidents that have occurred at Kuwaiti construction sites over the past few weeks, an official reportedly said.

Gen Khaled Al-Mekrad, director-general of Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD), said the authority is taking “necessary measures” against those causing fires, “regardless of that person’s identity”.

The number of “deliberate fires in 2016 reached 409”, Al-Mekrad told state agency KUNA.

Most fires in buildings under construction, according to Al-Mekrad, can be attributed to “the way […] iron was cut inside the site, causing sparks to start [fires] when they land on wood”.

Recent fires at the Sabah Al-Salem University City, Kuwait Credit Bank, and a Sharq-based tower’s construction sites were caused due to the same reason, he added.

Iron should not be cut within the project premises, Al-Mekrad continued, according to KUNA‘s report.

If iron must be cut in close proximity to the project, then workers “should make sure the sparks [do not] reach the huge amount of wood used” for the development.

Meanwhile, a fire that recently broke out in Kuwait’s Sharq Industrial Area was caused due to an electric short-circuit, Al-Mekrad revealed.

Kuwait Fire Service Directorate’s (KFSD) “search operations” covered 13,991 built and under-construction facilities, as well as storage areas, in 2016, Al-Mekrad said, according to KUNA.

Up to 655 cases were “referred to prosecution due to severe violations, prompting [the] suspension of their files and transactions”.

At least 21 facilities, including storage areas, warehouses, hotels, medical clinics, factories, and cellars have been closed down in 2017 for their violations.

“Right now, we are working on removing severe and hazardous violations in [Sulaibiya Industrial] area that pose great danger on the safety of the society,” Al-Mekrad, said.

He underlined that KFSD “is acting in a transparent manner”.

The fire authority, he added, reveals the “real causes” of every fire in its report, which is “supported by evidence like photos and samples and testimonies of eyewitnesses”.

The reports, which Al-Mekrad said were produced “without any pressure”, were published in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior‘s Criminal Evidence Department.

This story was originally written by Neha Bhatia for Construction Week.

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