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Disaster Risk Management Exercise

Residents of retirement resort rescued from “blaze”

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Date 27 November 2019

The ultimate nightmare scenario unfolded at Oasis Luxury Resort on Wednesday 27 November when curls of black smoke were seen billowing from the twelfth floor of the Palm Brook building.  Concerned onlookers watched as elderly residents were assisted out of the building, visibly shaken.

First on the scene was Century City Security who broke into two teams, one to assist the injured on the ground, and the other to scour the building for any others who might be trapped in the inferno.

Mrs. Smith, a resident on the ninth floor told reporters “I was busy with my monthly administration and next thing I know the building’s fire alarm goes off out of the blue.  I had such a fright, I scattered all my accounts on the floor!  The first thing I thought was to grab my little Misty and rushed for my front door.  I was so relieved to find a kind gentleman of the emergency services right outside my door, that I almost hugged him. He helped us to the nearest fire escape and within minutes we were outside and out of harm’s way.”

The Century City Safety and Security Team, First Responders, who were on the scene in a matter of minutes, were seen running out of the building wielding two residents on stretchers who had been overcome by smoke inhalation.  They were brought to safety and first aid was applied.

Within minutes, the wailing sound of sirens filled the air with emergency vehicles arriving on mass – ER24, City Fire & Rescue, City Disaster Management and Milnerton Traffic Services.

Fortunately, the smoke was only caused by smoke grenades and there was no real fire or injuries. It was all part of an annual joint simulation exercise to test and evaluate the operational preparedness of all safety & security and emergency response personnel.  This included the command and control of the incident by the Century City Security Operations Centre as well as the physical management of the incident on the scene.  The exercise was in line with the City of Cape Town’s strategy to test safety arrangements at retirement villages.

The one-hour exercise did not require any road closure thanks to Milnerton Traffic officers assisting in channeling the emergency response vehicles on Century Boulevard to the incident area and managing traffic flow.

“Even though this was just a drill, it brought home the stark realisation that as residents, we must be familiar with what to do in an emergency situation and where the emergency escapes are,” said Mr. Brown, a long-time resident.  “It is heartening to know that if ever a real disaster should occur, that we are in good hands.”

The exercise was a success and both the Century City Property Owners’ Association and the Oasis Retirement Resort received certification from the Disaster Risk Management office that they are prepared and capable of handling a situation should a disaster arise.