Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Rooty Hill RSL Fire Alarm Evacuation

21 Jul 2014A couple of weeks ago I was at a NOVA Dinner at Novatel Rooty Hill on the first floor. We were having a pleasant time. Food was being eaten, drinks were had, presentations had taken place and we were mingling around when the Fire Alarm Evacuation siren started going off.

At first the staff told us all to stay where we were, but then the second siren started. One of the managers was quick to make sure Sam and myself were out of the room and that we were going to be taken care of because we were both in wheelchairs.

The staff were still deciding whether we needed to go downstairs at all as they felt the alarms had gone off due to steam in the kitchen and not because of any fire.

So we waited at the top of the stairs for a very long time while the staff waited for the fire brigade to come and inspect.

Everyone except, Sam and I and those looking after us, went downstairs. When we asked the staff if they were going to take us downstairs, they just kept telling us to wait.

Eventually all was cleared by the fire brigade and we all went back inside for dessert and dancing.

I was not surprised by the way things were handled and the rule is to only rescue people in wheelchairs last, if there is time in case of fire. That is just how it is and I have learnt to accept this. We (people in wheelchairs) are seen as a liability, not an asset.

The people I work with were furious and were going to speak to the staff at Novatel as they were unhappy with how things were handled.

I happen to know it is the protocol and it is as it is.

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