Municipalities in the United Arab Emirates enforce tent safety during Islam’s holy month.
Tents are an integral part of Ramadan observances in many areas of the Middle East, and this year, officials in the United Arab Emirates worked to ensure that customs were balanced with public safety. The month-long observance, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, ended in the Middle East on Sept. 9 and in North America on Sept. 10.
Officials in Abu Dhabi Municipality stressed that protecting lives during the holy month was important, according to The National, an English-language newspaper based in Abu Dhabi. Safety measures, including at least two emergency exits, were required for tents to receive permits.
“Many dangerous accidents, which usually take place in camps and tents not complying with the security standards, cause extensive loss to lives and properties,” Owaidah al Qubaisi, acting executive director of municipal services, said in a statement.
In Dubai Municipality, the smoking of cigarettes and shisha (hookah) pipes in Ramadan tents required permits, which were only issued to four- and five-star hotels or development areas that had already passed stringent fire safety tests.
“We do not allow the small vendors to have shisha because it is a big responsibility,” said Redha Salman, the director of Dubai Municipality’s public health and safety department. Also, cooking was not permitted in any tent, and the municipality deployed officers to inspect tents throughout the observance.
Col. Abdullah Saeed al Suwaidi, the head of civil defense in the Umm Quwain emirate, said emergency exits required clear signs in English and Arabic and that a tent should also be wide enough and not employ lamps near fabric.
“Most of the tent builders use flammable fabrics and this is the major cause of fire, so we have instructed all tent builders to use fire resistant cloth—only then can we give them a license.”