Monday, December 27, 2010

Fire! Fire!

Our good friends 'M' and 'J' arrived from Australia last week and after meeting them at the airport, we went to their hotel...the luxurious Holiday Inn. 'M' and I were standing outside and noticed a large wall of mist emanating from the side of the building, from a few stories high. We figure it's like those similarly used to cool down coffee shops and restaurants.

Shortly after the parking lot attendant starts blowing his whistle, directing cars away from a certain area. Sirens start blaring...from an ambulance, exiting the hospital directly across the road, which hurtles into the hotel car park and from a fire engine, which has over shot the hotel entrance and now needs to reverse in the busy street.

"It's a fire drill!" one of the management staff informs us, saying that all of the guest have been alerted.

Back home I've worked in offices and shops that have legally mandatory, regular fire drills. But ours never involve actual emergency services attending. Pre-nominated fire wardens (employees) have specified tasks...counting heads, ensuring allocated areas have been evacuated etc. Then we all take our merry time, returning to our offices.

So, I was surprised to see the fire truck not only arrive, but to engage the stabilising legs and set the cherry picker (AKA Skylift F32HDT) in motion.
Spray of mist in the background
The water mist wall is either part of a larger external sprinkler system or designed to make a safety zone? I look up...holy guacamole, actual real live people waving white handkerchiefs from a balcony, Batman. A few staff members have volunteered drawn the short straws and are waiting to be rescued. The drill was very dramatic and taken very seriously, as it should, but due to the language barrier it became comical at times, as we were left to our own imaginations to 'fill in the blanks'.
I wonder if they get danger pay?
Meanwhile the rest of the hotel staff are dutifully assembling at the 'Assembly Point'.
A few people run across the lot with an empty stretcher and the ambulance speeds away, sirens going full blast, with the invisible victim. The staff members above on the balcony, fleeing from the imaginary inferno, open a section of the railing as the basket approaches.
 They make it to about here...
...and then this guy starts having trouble. Some thing's stuck!
While the staff are suspended, stationery, there is much cheering and clapping over at the Assembly Point. They've obviously done an excellent job according to the Fireman talking on the microphone...record time perhaps? The ambulance returns to collect another casualty.
 The basket of volunteers is still hovering...maybe the problem's in this panel of controls, somewhere?
To one side, a BBQ is lit and left blazing away and unattended. I'm not sure if it's part of the fire safety demonstration or if it's waiting to be loaded up with chicken and pork skewers, for the after fire drill party ;)

OK...that's close enough...get can all jump the rest of the way! And they do.
An assortment of fire extinguishers is now on display, along with a gas tank/rubber hose attached, flame thrower.
Many of the staff, some of them looking quite understandably, reluctant, are called forward to put the flame out with their thumb...see how easy it is? Cheers and applause!
The flame is re-lit time after time, as each person takes their turn. I'm thinking that maybe they should also be demonstrating how to turn the gas the source! Because the GAS IS STILL COMING OUT OF THAT HOSE!

'J', who is heavily involved media and production, for a large car company, quickly comes up with a 'burnt thumbs up, with a smile' marketing campaign. Regrettably we had to leave, just as they were pulling out the big guns...the fire extinguishers!!!!

*The hotel guests? Well unless they were out at an elephant camp or sight seeing at Doi Inthanon, or the like, they perished inside due to lack of room service.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Mike Rose said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap that made me smile, despite the more serious undertone.

Don't know about the media campaign, but this is Thailand after all, perhaps some T-shits too?

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Mike, it was reassuring to know the hotel is meeting their legal obligations in regards to fire safety.

The T Shirt idea sounds great! Mugs and key rings wouldn't go astray either ;)

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap I've stayed in many Thai hotels before but never witnessed a fire drill, they must be a joy to watch. I'm surprised Jerry Lewis didn't turn up.

Thai safety drills, the world really is starting to turn on its head.

Have a great New Year and give my best wishes to Stray.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Martyn, it was quite an extravaganza, I've never seen one either. Thanks, I'll pass on your best wishes to Stray. Speaking of New Years, I was sent an article recently on a hangover cure...Honey! 2-6 teaspoons every 20 minutes until you feel better. Apparently it sorts out blood sugar levels and helps metabolise alcohol. Just thought I'd mention it ;)