x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Hotels and malls ordered to train staff for emergencies

Dubai Municipality wants businesses to create contingency plans to better safeguard people in buildings.

DUBAI // Hundreds of hotels, shopping centres and other businesses in the emirate are being asked to train their staff in emergency evacuation and first-aid measures in the event of a fire, chemical leak or even an earthquake.

Inspectors from Dubai Municipality are asking malls and hotels to put in place contingency plans after about 10 people died and 20 were injured last year in more than 30 separate incidents that included drownings.

Officials said the move was aimed at improving public safety and increasing training of employees to prevent deaths or injuries. The municipality is asking business to comply within a month from receiving official notice.

"Everybody is assuming the security guards will take care of everything," said Redha Salman, director of the public health and safety department at the municipality.

"Whereas the security guards have no idea about anything except securing the building. It is OK to have security guards as part of the plan. But, then a bit of training, communication, telling them what to do, who to reach when something happens. All of this is common sense but it is neglected, if people are not sitting down and making plans," he said.

There are over 1,400 commercial establishments in the emirate, including 500 hotels and shopping centres.

pkannan@thenational.ae