Abu Dhabi buildings are safer for children in six months

In a bid to prevent children falling from high-rise structures, owners of residential buildings in the emirate of Abu Dhabi have been instructed to install protective devices on windows and openings in residential buildings.

The decree, which was announced by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) Tuesday, specifies that residential building windows, balcony openings and other openings that lead to the outdoors must not open wider than ten centimeters.

Locks and protective measures must also be in place for windows and openings that are less than 1.5 metres in height from the apartment floor.

Building owners have six months to install all necessary protective devices, after which municipal and civil defence authorities will begin to conduct checks on apartments in the emirate, a statement sent by the DMA said.

“Only owners of single-floor villas are exempt from installing these locks and protective devices, on the condition that windows and openings in the villa are not higher than 1.8 metres from the external ground level,” said Fatima Amer, consultant to the DMA, stated to Gulf News.

New leases for residential apartments must also include a provision that the owner will provide protection for windows and openings. The decree was issued in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Centre and the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence.”

The move follows a spate of falls from high-rise buildings in 2011 and early 2012 that led to the death of a number of children across the country and left residents terrified.

“The DMA will soon begin to conduct awareness campaigns about the requirements of the new decree,” Fatima said.

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