Friday, November 25, 2005

Fire Drills – How serious are you?

(No matter how old I am, I am still fascinated by the sound and looks of a fire truck. Picture – Malaysian Fire Trucks - source: )
We had a fire drill yesterday – it was a yearly event at the building where I am working. The fire drill went smoothly and like a clock work.

The fire bell rang, we walked down the staircase calmly to the designated area (first timers were excited despite walking 8 floors down), the fire truck & fire bikes arrived within reasonable time (although we calculated that a pizza delivery bike would reach much earlier to the maneuverability of the “kapcai” bike & “nothing to fear” rider) and acted the fire fighting drills (actually simulated assisting someone who had fainted due to “smoke”). The fire drill was a success.

The question is – do we take fire drills seriously? Some treated it as a mere inconvenience to their daily work. Others said that it is not the real thing so it’s ok with them. In fact, when we were at the designated area waiting for the fire-truck, I saw quite a number of them still in their offices, doing their work as usual. Some were happily watching the “action” below from their windows. Many are oblivious to the sound of the fire bell and fire truck siren. There is a saying “practice makes perfect” and I think that we should be serious about the fire drill because it can save our live when there is a real fire.

In the last 2 years, only once we had a real fire (it was due to a short-circuit in an electrical application in the next block). The fire bells went off almost immediately and guess what the reaction in my office was? At first, we were working as usual, thinking that the building maintenance must be testing the bells. One or two guys, who were very curious (one of the “ka-po-chi” one was me lah), casually walked towards the windows to check. When we opened the window, we saw thick smoke in the opposite building. Only then, we quickly rushed out but there was many who stayed on, saying that it was safe to be in as the fire is only at the next block.

I was amazed at how relaxed these guys were as the usual & normal instinct is to save ourselves. Things could have gone worse. The fire could have spread fast and blocked the escape routes. They could have been overcome with thick smoke. Anything could have happened then but luckily for us, the fire & rescue department was fast enough to control the fire. Ok, may in that instant, the danger was not there as the fire on the other block but a fire is still a fire and the fire bell should not be ignored (especially when it is ringing just 50 meters where we are sitting).

We must always remember that fire can be started by short-circuit or arson or even by a terrorist attack but what is important for us to know what to do during the emergency.
(Filed under Tag: Opinion)

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