Doha – Qatar – A phased evacuation exercise was conducted at Qatargas Doha Head Office tower in West Bay. The exercise involving state agencies and the initial response team of Qatargas proved to be a valuable experience for the responders as well as the employees involved.
The Qatargas Head Office building is a 52-storey tower occupied by employees of both Qatargas and Qatar Petroleum. The phased evacuation strategy is based on the concept that occupants in the most critical floors such as the fire floor and floors nearby will be prioritized to evacuate to safer floors. Many modern high-rise buildings with large number of occupants use phased evacuation in case of fire and Qatargas has also adopted this approach.
The exercise was led by Qatargas’ Emergency Management Services, in coordination with Qatar Civil Defense Directorate (QCDD). Other parties involved in the exercise included Hamad Hospital, the Qatargas Initial Response Team, Qatargas Medical and trained floor wardens from both Qatargas and Qatar Petroleum.
The joint exercise with QCDD simulated the significant challenge faced by emergency service personnel when incidents occur in a high-rise building like that of Qatargas Head Office building. There were time critical rescues undertaken from higher level floor and dynamic command decisions to safeguard all occupants of the tower. For Qatargas, the joint exercises with QCDD are invaluable, as they allow Qatargas’ Initial Response teams (IRT) to test their skills and knowledge under highly realistic conditions in an environment where effective communications, both internal and external, are essential.
QCDD participated in the exercise as part of their periodic preparedness assessment for response to emergency situations. QCDD has emergency response plans for high rise buildings and these exercises evaluate the effectiveness of those plans.
In preparation for the exercise, Qatargas conducted several learning sessions and issued information bulletins for the occupants of the building and floor wardens. A post-exercise review meeting was held on the same day with Qatargas and Qatar Petroleum role players, observers, Floor Wardens as well as with Qatar Civil Defense officers. The exercise helped improve Qatargas’ preparedness not only to completely evacuate the tower but also, to safely keep the people in the tower while responding to an emergency.
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