According to experts,
Failing to maintain and update fire safety equipment is one of the main causes of fires in the Sultanate of Oman.
It is common for the number of fires to increase in summer. However, a lack of safety precautions is the main reason behind fires, according to Oman-based insurer Philip K. Philip, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Muscat Insurance Company and Muscat Life Assurance Company
He said: “Out of the 11 fire incident claims settled in 2015, we can say that nine were debatable claims, in which the insured had not followed safety precautions. We have seen several cases of a lack of safety.” Mr. Philip continued: “We advise parties to have all safety precautions in place before insuring their property. However, we cannot say no to their claim when they approach us after an accident.”
Recently, a series of fires have occurred in different warehouses and industrial areas in Oman, damaging property and goods worth thousands of Omani riyals. Three fires were reported in Oman in a 24-hour period, and in one incident, goods worth OMR165,000 were destroyed when a fire engulfed four warehouses in Al Ansab.
According to an official from The New India Assurance office in Muscat, improved fire safety precautions could be adopted, in the interest of all concerned.
He said: “In most cases, it has been observed that electrical wiring and cables were not tested or checked in a routine manner. Poor quality cable materials are used, which leads to such incidents. Professional and qualified technical contractors are not engaged for installing electrical works or repairing the faults. There are cases where a single socket is used by many people for charging mobile, TV, audio, and more by using an extension cord, thereby increasing the load, which heats up, causing fire in the vicinity and extends it all over.”
Further, according to the New India Assurance official, in 2015 the firm received 71 claim intimations under the fire and property insurance policy. He stated: “The fire incidents under the property policy mostly occurred in the portacabins used for workers’ accommodations in various sites throughout Oman. The causes were mainly stated to be electrical short-circuits in the air-conditioners, switches, electrical panels, and other areas. Overall, this is a bad risk for insuring, since the risk of fire, even due to minor sparks, short-circuits and prevailing temperatures is high.”
In March, Colonel Said Al Asmi, Assistant General Manager for Operations at the Royal Oman Police, said that fire threats remain a major challenge for establishments in Oman, especially in summer. “The unorganised and poorly marked storage of cables and inflammable materials in many buildings raise the risk of damage by fire. Good housekeeping practices have to be implemented and maintained at all times, including adequate numbers of firefighting appliances, as recommended by the Civil Defence Department and installed and maintained in operating condition at all times.”