Emergency response teams raise awareness

Fire and Rescue Department personnel helping a ‘victim’ during the exercise. Photos: RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Drill teaches Shah Alam shoppers what to do in case of fire

“CHAOS” erupted at Aeon Mall in Shah Alam, Selangor when fire alarms sounded throughout the shopping complex.

There was, however, no frenzy among shoppers once it was announced that it was a fire drill.

The shopping complex served as venue for a pre-incident exercise organised by the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM).

The drill aimed to enhance awareness and efficiency in handling emergency situations, particularly fires, that may occur at the premises.

In the scenario that played out, a fire had occurred on the premises with five victims trapped in the building, putting to the test the coordination and abilities of firefighters, mall emergency response teams and the public.

Within 15 minutes of the incident being reported to the department, several assets were deployed to the scene such as firefighters, aerial ladder platform and water tanker.

In total, a 46-strong crew from four fire stations in Shah Alam, Klang and Subang Jaya were involved in the exercise.

In less than 30 minutes, 545 people, including mall patrons and workers, were evacuated to the assembly point located in the carpark.

This was all while members of the Fire and Rescue Department attempted to get the “situation” under control.

A round of applause for drill participants upon completion of the exercise in Shah Alam. A round of applause for drill participants upon completion of the exercise in Shah Alam.

During the exercise, which lasted over an hour, the emergency responders successfully rescued five individuals from the scene and treated them on site for their “injuries”.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Wan Md Razali Wan Ismail said the exercise benefitted all parties.

“We have to ensure that the safety systems in place are operating as intended, as we employ both passive and active measures to prevent mistakes and failures.

“The exercise definitely benefitted all parties, especially the four stations that were involved.

“Additionally, we were able to ensure that the assets used are in good working condition.”

Wan Md Razali added that the parties involved would have a post-mortem to review the drill and discuss actions to be taken.

The things they would look closely at, he said, were whether the mechanisms in place – such as the monitoring systems within the mall and nearby fire stations – would remain effective in a real emergency.

He added that the exercise on such a scale, which would normally take a full day to complete, was adequate as the evacuation and rescue efforts had gone smoothly.

One of those affected by the drill was Universiti Malaya student Muhammad Irfan Mohammad Nizar, who was there to support a blood donation drive.

He said the exercise, although a surprise to him, was a proactive approach by the authorities and commendable.

“Such exercises should be conducted regularly to ensure that awareness and response capabilities in the community continue to be enhanced among the public and building operators,” said the 22-year-old biomedical science student.

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