Friday, April 30, 2010

Does Security Trump Safety?

Does security trump safety? We had the fire drill a few weeks ago in the offices in Pune and after taking 8 minutes to exit were berated by whoever organized it that if it was a real fire and we weren't out in 2 minutes we'd all be dead.

In the evenings I always walk down the stairs from the 8th floor instead of the elevator (I take the elevator so rarely that I feel dizzy when it's descending), and this evening on my way out was no different. Except I got to the door to the stairwell, one of the few emergency exits, and it was padlocked shut!

I pointed it out to the watchman and he dug around in the drawer behind the desk and took about two minutes to find the key and get the door open for me.

What if there'd been a real fire? And there'd been 100-200 people panicking, packing the lobby tight and trying to get through there and it took two minutes to find the key? Or would we simply rely on the standard, poor quality construction in India for the crowd to easily smash the door?

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