UAE: School bus operators told to install smoke detectors inside vehicles

Authorities stressed the importance of preventing fires

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has called on school bus operators to install smoke detectors inside vehicles to prevent fire accidents. They also stressed the need to educate students on how to use fire extinguishers for their safety.

The General Command of Civil Defense at the MoI launched an awareness campaign, “Our students are our future,” which highlighted the need for safety in school buses and adherence to other safety requirements in schools following the return of pupils for the new academic year.

Major General Dr Jassim Muhammad Al Marzouqi, Commander-in-Chief of Civil Defense at the Ministry of Interior, said the campaign is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Education to enhance all concerned with safety in safety schools and to ensure adherence to safety requirements to protect students.

He pointed out that the campaign aims to raise awareness and introduce safety procedures in schools and on the buses, train bus supervisors on first aid procedures and ensure that floors in the vehicles are non-slippery and covered with a non-combustible layer for safety.

“It is also necessary to install smoke detectors in the vehicles and to educate students on how to use fire extinguishers so as to promote safety and protect lives and property,” said Al Marzouqi.

The standard specification for safety requirements in school buses, which was approved by the UAE Cabinet last year, obligated operators to install fire extinguishers in the vehicles and to develop self-extinguishing technology to prevent the spread in case a fire breaks out. The aim is to prevent fatalities and damages that might be caused by the outbreak of a fire in the engine.

A safety system for fuel tanks must also be fitted in school buses and should be protected with a metal cover. A first-aid box must also be placed in a clear and visible place inside the vehicle, according to the rules.

Authorities have in the past reported incidents of fire outbreaks in school buses while transporting students or when they were in parking lots; no injuries or fatalities had been registered.

The most recent incident occurred in 2019 when a fire broke out in a school bus on Kalba road and almost burned the entire vehicle. No students were injured, and they were rescued as soon as the fire broke out and taken safely to their school.

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