Protect children with safety barriers in UAE high-rise balconies 

Protect children with safety barriers in UAE high-rise balconies 

Incidents of children falling out of windows of high-rise buildings and balconies have seen a sudden spike


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Mon 8 Jan 2018, 12:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Jan 2018, 6:13 PM

Incidents of children falling out of windows of high-rise buildings and balconies have seen a sudden spike in Sharjah. 
To arrest the growing menace, the Sharjah Municipality from Monday has permitted tenants of residential apartments to put up a translucent acrylic barrier on the balcony railings to ensure safety, especially of the kids.
Addressing a press conference, Khalid Bin Falah Al Suwaidi, director of customer services of the Sharjah Municipality, said that the step is part of the municipality's efforts to avert potential risks. Residents who wish to install acrylic barrier can get approval from monitoring and inspection section at the industrial area number 5 after paying Dh200. Apart from submitting a request form for installing the protection barrier, the applicants will have to furnish a 'no objection' letter from the owner of the residential unit.
The tenants must also present a printed picture of the balcony where the barrier is to be placed. They will have to sign an undertaking that they would place the barrier based on the specifications and standards laid down by the municipality. Once installed, the inspectors will visit the house to check the barrier to make sure that it meets all the prescribed conditions.
The initiative - under the slogan 'my protection is your responsibility' - has been launched by the Sharjah Municipality in cooperation with the Prevention and Safety Authority (PSA), Sharjah committee for urban planning, the Sharjah Police, and civil defence department.
Khalid Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, director of PSA, said the authority has made efforts to organize awareness and security campaigns to educate the members of the community about the important precautionary measures that can go a long way in saving lives. The campaigns focus on sensitizing parents of the importance of complying with safety and security rules to avoid fatal fall of their children from balconies.
Thabet Salem Al Turaifi, director general of the Sharjah Municipality, said that the campaign, launched by the civic body in coordination with other government departments, mainly aims at emphasizing that parents should realize their responsibility and take extra caution when their children get near the windows or balconies.
Under its awareness campaign, the municipality has come out with 'guidance brochures' in various languages, including Arabic, English and Urdu. These brochures have been distributed among residents of 3,000 buildings in Sharjah and particularly areas where high-rise buildings and towers are located, including Al Majaz, Abu Shaghara, Al Qasemia and Al Nahda. Besides, the civic body sent across text messages to more than 10,000 Sharjah residents regarding ways to avert danger that kids face while on balconies.
Khalifa Bin Hadda, director of engineering and projects department in the Sharjah Municipality, said the municipality has recently made amendments on technical specifications for safer residential buildings and asked the owners to make sure the balconies and windows are elevated to 120 cm instead of one meter. They have also been told to place lockers at windows that should not open more than 5 to 10 cm. The municipality has ensured that the owners of old buildings with balconies less than 120 cm make alterations to the height and adhere to technical specifications that are being followed by the new buildings. 

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