Earlier in the day, while I was chatting with Wuan on the phone, an awful smell wafted in through the window. Initially, I thought someone was using an overly strong floor cleaner but when I saw black smoke drifting past, I immediately looked out the window. Black smelly smoke was belching out from one of the windows from an apartment just below mine.
It was Peter?s neighbour. So I called him but he was already busy with the fire fighting effort. I did not know the extent of the fire and thought it would be best to go down to ground level and be away from the fire. I wondered if I should put on a diaper, just in case, but decided against it. It would take too long.
Fortunately, it was just a small fire. A table fan somehow caught fire but was discovered early. There was some damage to the furnishings but nothing major. Accidents like these do happen, due to carelessness or electrical faults. However, I am extremely dissatisfied with the response of the security guards in managing this incident. Below is the letter that I am sending to the Manager of the apartments where I am staying regarding this matter.
If you do not already know, a fire broke out at 31B-19-4 today at approximately 2:25pm. The guardhouse was promptly notified. I am extremely disappointed that the guards arrived at the scene of the incident only after the fire was extinguished. At the first instance when a fire is reported, the security guard posted at the respective Blocks should take control of the situation. If your security guards were not trained in fire fighting, then they should have been instructed to notify residents staying in the immediate vicinity and if the situation warrants, evacuate them in an orderly manner. None of these were done. Lives were at stake and your security guards were acting in a lackadaisical attitude which is truly appalling.
As the Manager of the four blocks of apartment here, it is your responsibility to ensure the security and safety of all residents at all times. I would like to know what contingency plans you have in the event of a major fire or emergencies. Surely, for the amount of management fees and security guard fees that are being charged to the management fund every month, you must have already drawn up a strategy to ensure the safety of residents here.
In addition, despite protests from parcel owners, you have been grossly irresponsible in continuing to allow cars to be parked at the driveway in such a manner that they will obstruct the movement of fire engines and ambulances. This will seriously impede rescue and fire fighting attempts. Are you going to wait until lives are lost because of these obstructions before you are ready to consider the safety of residents?
I trust you will furnish all parcel owners and residents here with a copy of the Contingency Plan for Fire and Emergencies within fourteen days to see if any amendment is needed. This will allow us to reside here with a peace of mind knowing that our safety and security is being looked after. However, if there is no such plan, I urge you to immediately initiate a dialogue with parcel owners and put together one for the safety of all residents here.
I hope something positive will come out of this. I believe all high-rise dwellings should have a plan of action for emergencies like fires. The exits are few and the high-density of people living in such a confined space makes it imperative that a systematic evacuation strategy is in place so that no lives are needlessly risked. The emergency services? vehicles should have easy access to the premises to avoid any delay in the rescue and fire fighting. If only lives are put before profit and arrogance, we will surely have a safer environment to live in.
Penang Trip 2 - Day 1 - 25 August 2013
Dealing with prejudices - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 26 October, 2013
Wonderful Wuan - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 19 October, 2013
My principles in life - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 12 October, 2013
Multiple benefits of accessible tourism - Breaking Barriers - The Borneo Post - 5 October, 2013