In the interest of safety

In the interest of safety

Many companies, schools and even colleges hold regular mock drills to raise awareness among their employees and students on how they should tackle panic situations.

Ever since the Mumbai terror attack, the number of mock drills at hotels, hospitals and shopping malls has increased as well.

It’s evident that the authorities of these establishments are conscious of the need to be better equipped and prepared for any situation.

Recently, Forum Mall in Koramangala conducted a mock security drill, with a low-intensity blast at the exit.

The explosions raised panic among many onlookers, who thought that it was a real blast. SMSes were circulated and messages were posted on social-networking sites in matters of hours; only later did it become clear that it was nothing but a mock drill.

A senior officer from the fire and emergency services department says that a number of mock drills are being conducted in and around the City periodically where scenarios such as terror attacks, evacuation from trains and stations, derailment and fire incidents are simulated.

Many believe that it is not only important to have such mock drills, but also to keep the public aware about these so that there’s no confusion.

Aakriti, a student, says, “It is very important to have such drills as people need to know what to do in difficult situations. It would also be good for people to be aware of it so that there is no panic. By knowing about it before hand, people will be able to handle the situation better.”

Pradeep, emergency co-ordinator, Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority, says that it is routine for everyone to be aware of the mock drill.

“There was no reason to panic as the organisers had announced the start of the drill over loudspeakers an hour in advance and continued to inform the public. This is a routine procedure. At times, there are chances of a few people panicking. But all the nearby police stations are informed beforehand,” he adds.

Leela Palace also had held a security mock drill recently. And to ensure that there was no panic among the guests, the hotel had informed them two days ahead of the drill; everyone else at hotel was kept in the loop as well. “This has been taking place very regularly at the hotel. Ever since the Mumbai terror attack, we have been doing the drill more rigorously — at least once in three months.

I feel these drills really help the guests and the staff remain prepared for any situation,” says Bhavana, the public relations manager of the hotel. As for the panic situation, Nandeesh,  the general manager of Garuda Mall, says that it can be curbed if regular announcements are made and security is there to handle the situation.

“The reason behind having these drills is to make people believe that a situation like this can occur and show how well the mall personnel and security is able to handle the crowd. I feel that in all the years we have been doing these drills, they have been helpful and made us more cautious,” he sums up.