Even as I write my comment page, a reminder came of the constant topic of high-rise fire safety when a serious fire broke out in a tower in the Al Mamoura area of Abu Dhabi City.
Fortunately, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence firefighters, together with police and ambulances were rapidly on the scene and the outbreak was soon under control, although a wide area was cordoned off and affected for some time. Fortunately there were no reported casualties and the cause of the fire is still being investigated.
This news also reminded me that in the UK, due to the Covid lockdown, the much-disrupted public inquiry into the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire disaster that tragically took the lives of 72 men, women and children continues its work. The anticipated recommendations will surely follow with implications regarding the proper application and use of non-flammable fire-rated cladding panels.
In previous editions of Gulf Fire, and since the effects of Covid, I have commented on the postponement of various fire-related exhibitions, conferences and forums. An earlier major casualty of Covid was Dubai Expo 2020, the major five-yearly World Exposition event due to be held in the Middle East for the very first time. The World Expo series sees hundreds of countries using pavilions to show off the latest in architecture and technology, and fire safety will, without doubt, be a prominent subject and focus.
Before the pandemic forced the event to be postponed, organisers had expected 25 million visits during the course of the six-month international fair. Bidding to be the biggest ever event yet held in the Arab world, it will now run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
However, despite restrictions on travel and the lockdowns in some parts of Europe, Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of the Dubai Expo 2020, says that they are holding on to the pre-pandemic target. He stated: ‘The world has gone through these galactical shifts over the last year but now with vaccine roll-outs, we believe that the situation will settle by October. We believe the situation will be far more positive by then.’
The spectacle of Dubai Expo is particularly crucial for the Middle East’s financial hub – Dubai – as its economic model relies heavily on sectors that are driven by consumer spending, such as in the hospitality, luxury retail and travel sectors. Whilst most experts think it might be somewhat challenging to achieve 25 million visits, there is a broad consensus that millions will attend the event which could have a significant impact on the economy.
Over 200 countries have already confirmed their involvement with pavilions and the Expo Show 2020 will cover an area of some 438 hectares (1,080 acres) equivalent to a staggering 613 football pitches! The event is expected to boost Dubai’s economy by $33bn (£24bn) and to create up to 300,000 jobs. After the event, some 90% of the materials will be used in construction to create permanent buildings. See www.expo2020dubai.com.
Another welcome returning event in the Gulf fire calendar during the post-lockdown period is Intersec 2022. Back in the January 2021 edition of Gulf Fire, I reported that event organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East had re-scheduled the 23rd edition of Intersec, the world-renowned annual security, fire protection and safety trade fair. Originally due to take place in January 2021, the show in Dubai is confirmed for 18 to 22 January 2022.
Looking back, Intersec 2020 featured a record 1,100 exhibitors from 56 countries, and attracted 33,872 visitors from 135 countries.
The official patron of Intersec is HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed who has issued a statement about the return of the region’s biggest fire and security show:
‘Dubai’s status as one of the world’s safest cities is built on a foundation of trust, openness, and international cooperation, which has underlined the Emirate’s global position as a destination of choice for sustainable business and tourism.
‘Through government and private sector collaboration, we remain committed to enhancing people’s happiness and wellbeing, so that citizens and residents can continue to prosper, while welcoming tens of millions of visitors safely, and securely with every passing year.
‘The government and leadership of Dubai has always prioritised the safety and security of citizens, residents, and visitors to the Emirate. Intersec plays a critical role in bringing together the entire global safety, security, and fire protection communities, to share knowledge, display the latest technologies, and build on existing relationships that lead toward a safer, more secure world.
‘In January 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the 23rd edition of Intersec will be back, presenting the most important platform of the year for businesses and governments to collaborate and continue on their paths of building a sustainable, safer, and more secure world, for our generations, and those that follow. We look forward to hosting our communities once again, safely, physically, live, and in-person.’
This global industry event is supported by Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police, the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), Dubai Police Academy and Dubai Municipality.
Since its birth in 2016, Gulf Fire magazine has been a Key Media Partner of Intersec, and the MDM website will carry further news of Intersec 2022 as it becomes available.
The lack of being able to meet in person in the pursuance of fire-related work and activities has been an extended challenge to us all throughout the past year. Let us sincerely hope that normality returns in the very near future so we may all benefit and enjoy the forthcoming shows on the horizon. The Gulf Fire team look forward to welcoming you.