UAE: How to prevent gas cylinder explosions

Authorities urge residents to follow safety measures



File photo used for illustrative purpose
File photo used for illustrative purpose
by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 24 May 2022, 4:34 PM

Last updated: Tue 24 May 2022, 10:36 PM

There have been a number of incidents involving gas cylinder explosions in the UAE over the recent years that have caused loss of lives and left many injured. Negligence, careless handling of cylinders and failure to follow necessary safety measures are mostly found to be the mains reasons that lead to such incidents.

In the latest incident on May 23, 2022, Abu Dhabi Police said a gas cylinder explosion in a restaurant in Al Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi killed two people and injured 120 others. The blast set off fires that damaged the facades of six buildings and several stores before being brought under control by the Civil Defence.

Four of the damaged buildings were “safely” evacuated, with efforts underway to find temporary housing for tenants “until the buildings are completely secured”, the police said.

Police and civil defence authorities have always reminded the public to be careful when dealing with gas connections and other power sources.

The Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Department stressed the need to adhere to safety requirements when using gas cylinders, including ensuring the accuracy of gas system installations and having gas leak detectors. It recommended that periodic maintenance be carried out to ensure safety for all.

According to authorities, gas cylinders may become dangerous and cause fires due to negligence, and the lack of awareness of many in the use of non-conforming to the specifications and standards adopted.

How does a gas cylinder blast takes place?

Cooking gas cylinders if not handled properly, can lead to disastrous and fatal consequences. It’s almost impossible to have gas cylinder blast on its own without related factors.

According to safety experts, a gas leak from a cylinder or regulator gets mixed with air, forming a combustible mixture. To complete the fire triangle, it needs a spark or a source of ignition. This spark ignites the combustible gas cylinder-air mixture and this leads to an explosion.

File photo
File photo

Recent cases of gas cylinder explosions

  • On May 23, 2022, Abu Dhabi Police reported a gas cylinder explosion in a restaurant in the Al Khalidiya area, which killed two people and injured 120 others.
  • In February 2022, a gas cylinder explosion was reported in a building on Hamdan Street in Abu Dhabi city. The Abu Dhabi civil defence blamed the explosion on a faulty gas cylinder in the building. There were no casualties.
  • In August 2020, three people were killed and several others were injured in an explosion in Abu Dhabi. The explosion destroyed the KFC and Hardee's restaurants and neighbouring shops in Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Road, known locally as Airport Road. Police investigations showed that the blast was caused by "a misalignment in the gas container fittings, following refuelling.
  • In January 2021, one person died, and another seriously injured in an explosion caused by a leakage in a cooking gas cylinder at a scrap shop in Al Sajja area in Sharjah. The accident occurred on December 28, but the person died on January 2.

How to prevent gas cylinder explosions

File photo
File photo

According to Abu Dhabi Civil Defence, it’s imperative to follow safety measures while handling cooking gas cylinders as mostly negligent and careless handling leads to cooking gas cylinder explosion.

Embracing these effective safety measures will help in avoiding such accidents.

Advice for individuals in homes

  • Ensure that gas pipes are installed by correctly, with the appropriate regulator.
  • Ensure there is a safety system installed
  • Do not keep the gas knob in an open position. Remember to put the regulator knob off when not in use
  • Do not store flammable and plastics in the kitchen near the LPG cylinder or cooking area
  • Provide adequate ventilation in the kitchen and cooking area
  • Do not place the cylinder in direct sunlight
  • Install gas leak detectors

Advice for facilities and businesses

  • Ensure that gas contractors have valid licences
  • Ensure that the has system maintenance and installation technicians are licenced
  • Use gas system equipment licenced by the Civil Defence
  • Ensure that maintenance and gas supply contractors are approved by the Civil Defence
  • Proper ventilation is a must

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