Escaping a Burning Building

May 1, 2014, I was supposed to enjoy the day with my family but due to call of duty, I went to the office instead. It was supposed to be Labor Day yet I was there at the shop floor, busy decorating the bulletin boards.

“We need to hit the 1M target this year,” my boss said the other day.

So there I was, not in my best element and talent yet trying to motivate myself to be good on visual control.
My on-the-job trainee and I finished the decoration at 3:30 PM. We headed to the cafeteria afterwards. I brought the Coke-in-can to my desk and left my OJT to answer to my email.

At 4PM, the fire alarm alerted us. I ignored it and thought of it as another false alarm. I was busy and all I wanted was to finish my day’s task. My officemates at the other side of the office were busy looking at the fire. Then, after 10 minutes, there was a power shutdown. My officemates were noisy but I could not comprehend because of distance factor. The only source of light that I had was from my laptop. I stood and saw some figures exiting the office. One of them passed by to my desk to inform me that we needed to evacuate. I looked out of the glass window and saw the heavy smoke outside!

“Hurry, the LPG tanks might explode!”

I was in a state of panic. It was dark and all I wanted was to get out of the building and save some of my valuable possessions.

“Hurry! Hurry!”

I grabbed my handbag and my laptop then ran towards the exit. For some reasons, I thought that I would need to change from my safety shoes to my rubber shoes so I went back to my desk.

“Hurry! Hurry!”

I dropped the laptop while trying to get my rubber shoes. I was slightly shaking.

I managed to get out of the building; I was safe with the other evacuees at the flag pole area. I wondered what happened to the rest because we were only around 20 at the flagpole area. Were they unaware of the danger of explosion? Being one of the management team present, I felt responsible for the safety of the rest of us so I went back to the office and production area to check them. I was slightly shaking while walking back but I trusted that God would save us all from this.

I saw operators, engineers and guards trying to kill the fire. When it was declared “fire out,” there was that sense of “we made it” on their faces. Good job!

I learned that we need to be alert once the fire alarm alerts us.

I learned that we need to keep calm on emergency situations.

I learned the value of responsibility over our people.

I learned that fire-fighting is a team work, nobody should take credit of everything.

I learned that we need to put in our hearts the value of fire drill. Better prepared than never, right?

One thought on “Escaping a Burning Building

  1. Occupied buildings here in Canada, I think, has a mandatory fire drill once every three months. If you guys weren’t informed that they will be testing the fire alarms that day, consider each fire alarm seriously. There was this one time that we had to evacuate the building because the someone’s toast set the alarm off. Maybe consider having fire drill every now and then. Set a muster point as well so that everyone knows where to go so that everyone can be accounted for.

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