Thursday, 1 May 2008

Where there's smoke....

BurJurman mall was evacuated yesterday afternoon when acrid smoke filled the luxury shopping mall. The smoke, which came from one of the restaurants, filled all 3 shopping floors of the mall and filtered down to the basement parking. The fire brigade was on the scene quickly and dealt with the fire. However, as expected, there was absolutely no organised direction to confused shoppers on where the exits were to leave the building. Don't tell me otherwise in your glossy press releases! Many shoppers and shop workers gathered in the foyer of the office tower which, in a major emergency and evacuation would be a nightmare as they'd be struggling to get into the office fire exits while the office workers were also using to evacuate from the 25 floors of the business tower. On this occasion there was only smoke, but if there'd been flames, panic would have started and it would have been a disaster. After 18 months the office tower management have still not held an organised tenant evacuation drill. The management hands out a pathetic photocopied book (one copy per tenant) that's supposed to be sufficient. After circling body parts in photos of disaster/accident cases as part of my job 'back in the day' at RT&P, I'm highly motivated to ensure that I'm not a casualty and that nobody I work with is either! So with the support of management, I convinced, ok I nagged, everyone in the firm into taking part in our own evacuation drills. At the first evacuation drill we found the fire exit door to the street had been chained shut. The response was "But Madame don't worry, the door is always open between 10 - 5." Well that's good isn't it because everyone knows that fires keep regular hours. Until February this year the company I work for in BJ Tower seemed to be alone in having any sort of structured and practiced evacuation plan. I'm happy to say that now the Aus Consulate and AusTrade are joining us in our 3 monthly jaunts down the fire stairs. Its not perfect by the standards we're used to in NZ/Aus/US/UK but if it gives us a fighting chance in a real emergency, its well worth doing.
There are photos here.


  1. Well, if you checked your sources Ms. Self-Righteous, you would have known the 'smoke' - not fire, started in Hatem restaurant, not Mrs. Fields. I agree more organisation should have been put forward when dealing with fire or smoke, but your 'undercover' work fails to look at how the management is looking into training its staff. And press releases weren't glossy and contained wrong information, because everyone WAS evacuated and no one was injured. Perhaps if you stepped out of your sheltered life, you would have noticed how nearly 2000 individuals were cleared from the shopping centre in less than a half hour. The gawking and picture taking (as you so willfully proven) is the result of ignorance and the need for some fascinating 'scoop' of your surroundings, which I don't think you could argue against!
    Anyway, thanks for taking those pics - I still can't see any 'fire' though!

  2. "Ms Self-Righteous...sheltered life...ignorant"? Why the personal attack? You do a dis-service to the many individuals and companies who are concerned about safety issues in the complex. I wonder at your motivation. The tower has now been occupied for nearly two years and there has not been any management organised evacuation drill in that time.
    Point taken about smoke -v- fire and starting point, I'll make that change.

  3. At least she says something when she sees things are wrong and people could be hurt. You hide behind anonymous and complain.

  4. That's a defensive (over)reaction Anonymous, you must work for the mall company
    Instead of schoolgirl name calling why don't you make the place safe for people to use NOW instead of just looking into it. You might not be so lucky next time.

  5. They say that when a cat is cornered it attacks as it has no other form of defense. This is exactly what you are doing anonymous. You have no defence for your appalling safety record e.g. fire exit doors locked and blocked, so you attack the person who points out these issues. What an excellent record you have, almost two years in operation and only now you are "looking into training its staff" - congratulations on being so pro-active! Well I'm "looking into" buying a Ferrari, but it ain't going to happen.
    Get over it, admit you have a lot a lot to learn and take action, it will benefit everyone - including yourself.
    .... you could not make this up, but as I am writing this the fire alarm has gone off telling us to evacuate. Because it only sounded once we rang reception to check if we should evacuate, to be told it's a false alarm. Have they announced it's a false alarm - NO!