Some odd scenes are reported by a local resident with a bird’s eye view of York Way as fire drills on the railways lands site appear to go awry. We received a copy of an email to a University of the Arts Dean of Students Mark Crawley:
I am a resident living very close to the new University of the Arts complex in Kings Cross. This is not a complaint against the University which (aside from some minor teething problems) I have found to be a good neighbour. Rather, I am writing to express my concern at the inadequacy, and thus, the associated risk of your fire drills.
I am unsure of the number of students and staff at the complex but the attached pictures taken from my apartment window should indicate that simply allowing students and staff to pour out of the complex into an area clearly not fit for purpose is both dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. As can be seen, the area where your students are directed to is not large enough to accommodate them all. My pictures do not do justice to the mass of bodies on both sides of the road. As a result, your people are forced to stand close (and, in some cases, actually IN the busy York Way road. Picture 6 shows the risk as a van attempts a left turn from Copenhagen Street…only to be faced with people in the road. With the building works still ongoing around your complex, there are still numerous heavy goods and construction vehicles up and down York Way.
I would seriously urge a review of your fire evacuation procedures as a matter of urgency – this is, after all a drill…can you envisage the chaos/confusion that an actual evacuation during a real emergency would cause?
I work for a major government department and we have several hundreds of staff in my building alone. When we have fire drills we have nominated monitors who are responsible for groups of staff and who lead these to individual mustering points. As can be seen from the pictures, with one exception, your fire staff (in yellow vests) are all gathered together (on the wrong side of York Way) and seem to have only one goal – namely getting people off the complex, waiting for the alarms to cease, and then simply letting them all back in again. I have seen your drill twice now and at no time did I see your students and staff being led to separate, safe mustering points nor did I see your fire staff checking them back in – i.e. no clip boards.
I am sure that closer investigation will reveal 2 or 3 likely mustering points that would enable a far more robust and safe evacuation procedure.
If you have been on one of these fire drills, please let us know what the experience was like in the comments.