Friday, 3 June 2016

An interesting experience

No photos today, but I thought I would share m experience this morning with you.  As usual on a Friday, Bill dropped me off at our local large shopping centre for me to do the weekly shopping.  This involves a lot of walking as I usually need to go to stores at opposite ends of the centre, and the items I want are always at the very back of the large stores!  I have had my day's walk by the time i come home again.

I was congratulating myself this morning that I had finished over half an hour earlier than usual.  i was in the checkout queue in the last store when the fire alarm began sounding.  There are often test carried out, so apart from being mildly annoyed by the loud siren - and the electronic voice calling 'right, the fire alarm is now on' (how could you not know that) Nobody took much notice.  After a few seconds it went off, but came on again a few seconds later.  This repeated several times.  I had rung Bill to ask him to come and collect me.  Usually I stay sitting inside the centre for about ten m minutes before I walk out to the under cover car park, but the noise was so penetrating I went straight out to stand and get away from the noise.
Presumably soon after that a notice was broadcast for everyone to evacuate - there were people arriving out in the carpark in droves. This is a carpark on four levels, with another on two levels at the front of the centre.
It only took about a minute for the traffic to be in complete gridlock.  I don't think there was an actual fire, I heard on the news there was a problem with the sprinkler system in a part of the centre some distance from where I was, but it made me think about how difficult it would be to get everyone away to safety if there had been an actual fire.
Bill sat in a queue for over ten minutes waiting to travel half a block.  There were quite a few people I saw who were on wheelie walkers or using walking sticks, meaning they would have difficulty walking very far very fast.  You would need to abandon your car and your shopping trolleys and walk out as far as you could - I am very glad none of us had to do that!
It has given me food for  thought however.  There are so many small stores in those shopping centres as well as the large department stores that the management must have nightmares trying to train staff for evacuation and fire drill.  I just hope they really are doing it.
Very overcast here today, just a little rain, but we had 18mm overnight which was much appreciated.  South east Qld has dire predictions for tomorrow for strong winds, rough seas and very heavy rain.  Hopefully the predictions will turn out to be an overkill.
Have a good weekend.