Civil defence's quick tactics and training saved the day, says chief

Civil defences quick tactics and training saved the day, says chief
Implementing 'rapid intrusion tactics', the civil defence prevented the fire from spreading to nearby buildings - KT file photo

Dubai - The civil defence's actions saved hundreds of lives, by providing the "protective curtains" that were facing the waves of fire as it flowed into the tower


Amira Agarib

Published: Mon 7 Aug 2017, 11:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Aug 2017, 1:12 AM

Major-General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, director of the Dubai Civil Defence, has hailed its fire brigade and the Dubai Police, for carrying out the successful evacuation of hundreds of residents within minutes following the Torch Tower fire.
The fire was brought under control within two hours and no injuries were reported. Major-General Al Matroushi also hailed the police's actions in clearing the traffic and crowds to aid the firefighters, and facilitating the entry and exit of rescue vehicles.
"The precautionary measures - known as the governance of safety systems in skyscrapers and buildings - have played a prominent role in containing the incident and preventing the spread of fire to neighbouring towers," he noted.
The civil defence's actions saved hundreds of lives, by providing the "protective curtains" that were facing the waves of fire as it flowed into the tower. He added that "the rescue and firefighting teams faced great challenges, most notably the large size of building, which is an independent residential area that has more than 600 apartments.
"This was compounded by the late timing of the fire and the presence of most of the residents in their apartments, and also the burning debris falling onto the neighbouring towers."
Implementing what is called 'rapid intrusion tactics' in their line of work, the civil defence members exerted all efforts to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. The team did their job effectively despite the size and height of the building - one of Dubai's tallest towers - the burning debris that was falling, and parked vehicles under the tower.
The official credited the successful operation to the civil defence and police teams' regular eviction drills and trainings, rehearsing what is known as the "manual of emergency procedures". They also formed a field operations room outside the fire scene and divided the firefighting work between teams that arrived from six civil defence centres.
These teams set to work immediately and in tandem with their partners from the Dubai Police, the ambulance teams and the Dubai Municipality, in a well-organised routine that effectively prevented the occurrence of any stampedes, suffocation or injuries among the residents, despite the threat posed to their own lives.
"The fire brigade carried out rapid intrusion tactics when inside the tower, helping them curb the blaze and preventing its spread to the wings of the tower and the other buildings nearby. The smart systems in the tower also reduced the spread of flames, limiting it to the façade only," Major-General Al Matroushi said.
"The use of smart systems and the teams' courage in the face of fire prevented a likely disaster," he noted.
How civil defence, police prevented a disaster
·      Civil Defence's protective curtains prevented injuries/casualties from waves of fire
·      Rapid intrusion tactics carried out inside the tower
·      Regular eviction drills and training kept them in readiness
·      Manual of emergency procedures followed
·      Field operations room put up outside fire scene
·      Firefighting work divided between six teams
·      Coordination with ambulance teams, Dubai Municipality
·      Police cleared traffic and crowds, aided entry and exit of rescue vehicles

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