Assume I want to open a business in a shopping mall, suppose I got all the necessary permits and permission to open the business and let’s assume that business is to operate a day care. As per general regulations in any part of the World the business owner shall be responsible for the fire safety within its premises. What if the fire happened to be outside his/her premises?
Now let’s bring this discussion to the recent heart breaking and unfortunate incident of Gympanzee Nursery in Villagio. Provided that the Nursery was operated under a valid and authentic permit/license, which appears to be the case as reported by todays Gulf times, the question is to what extent the Nursery management can be held responsible for this incident. This may include
Were the staff and the kids prepared for such an incident and were fire drills conducted to check the preparedness?
Was the fire safety aspect missed mistakenly, or was not given enough thought, or was it deliberately overlooked?
I would say no one (being a parent of 3 kids myself) will deliberately overlook this part so the benefit of doubt may be given that this aspect was just missed out from the detail mistakenly.
Since the Nursery was established in a mall, therefore, the overall fire and safety responsibility is on mall management. Another good example is a rental place acquired in one of the tall tower in West Bay Area. If a Nursery is opened in one of these towers, then to what extent the Nursery owner is responsible for the fire and safety. Say if the nursery is located on the 1st floor and the fire happened to block all exits?????
This discussion is opened to get an understanding of the responsibilities of the business owner in such cases and what regulations shall address this area..
We need to understand the environment and preparedness of the mall security and its management for any incidents. Five years ago upon my first visit to Lulu my 4 years old got lost, I immediately approached the security and informed him that my kid is lost and he need to act. He answered, “I am not prepared for such incidents”. Similar incident happened in Disney LA and it was security who approached us as we look distraughted and they assured us that all the exits would be closed but luckily he was a couple of meters away behind a toy stand. Let’s now talk about the measures taken at Villagio, the security staff advised visitors not to worry as it is a false alarm. People kept shopping till 20 – 25 minutes after the first alarm sounded. Customer was left out in changing room.. What it tells is that no one was prepared for any such incidents and no one ever thought about it, including mall management, security, business owners, tellers, shoppers etc.
Now what we expect is that a thorough and in-depth investigation shall look into all aspects of this catastrophic failure and recommend laws, regulations, safety standards, trainings and mandatory drills requirements, and propose an implementation strategy that should have built in accountability mechanism.
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