Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Emergency

11:00 pm: just when I have handed over Dade to the husband so I can finally go to bed, our doorbell rang. On the way to the door, I heard voices that sounded panicky so I rushed to see what's going on. When I finally peeked at our peep hole, I saw our neighbors' doors open with people hurriedly leaving their apartments. As I flung open our door, the watchman told me to evacuate as the building next to us was on fire!

I ran back to our room and immediately told Ryan about the situation. In a matter of seconds, he took out all the important stuff we had on our safe - passports, various documents and jewelry, while I held Dade. When he was through, I passed him the baby so he can be swaddled then I grabbed hold of the nearest bag within my reach which was thank goodness my open mouthed Neverfull GM.  I unceremoniously dumped all the items there. I swear, Neverfull is not called such for nothing! I was also able to put inside it my Macbook, our SLR, my G9, and my Freecom External Hardrive that has all our pictures. With a bit of support at the bottom, I say it managed to carry the load.

We went down through the stairs in one of the fire exits and when we got to the parking level, the burning started to smell. We quickened our pace and as soon as we reached ground level, I was relieved that we were able to exit the building safely. No one panicked and everyone looked calm. The huge lobby of our building that serves as a common area for all 4 towers of our plaza looked like an evacuation center swarming with people in their PJs.

So we moved outside next to the grocery in one of the towers, and stayed there for a bit. But after about an hour, we decided to get back inside the lobby because we saw people going back in. That was probably because it started to smell of smoke outside. Our building was still safe anyway as the fire was on the top floor of the next building which was being constructed. We were asked to evacuate for precaution just in case the fire spreads out. Anyway, we also wanted to head back because we also needed to sit down and settle ‘cos we started feeling tired already. We were lucky because we found a vacant chair amidst the number of people inside waiting for an update. So I sat there with Dade in my arms while hubby guarded our things.

Now in this kind of situation, I was extremely thankful for a lot of things. First, I felt very grateful that I decided to breastfeed. With my nursing bib packed on Dade’s nappy bag, I was able to confidently nurse him in the middle of hundreds of people. I didn’t have to worry about him getting hungry and not having a bottle of milk to drink.  Secondly, I was thankful for the sling that we bought for Dade. It proved to be very, very useful. It was easier for hubby to carry Dade & I saw that they were both comfortable. Thirdly, I was thankful that we have all the documents we needed in just one place. Dear hubby was asking me to keep my big bag in the closet but for some reason, I was always putting it off. Apparently, there was a reason why my bag sat on top of the safe for weeks already. Now I've decided I'm gonna keep it there when I’m not using it. And the last reason I was thankful for was the fact that we were still awake when it happened.  Had we been asleep, we wouldn’t have known that there was an emergency already. I know you might be asking why our alarm didn’t go off. Since the fire wasn’t in our building, nothing triggered the smoke detectors so no alarm rang.  Although it would’ve been much more efficient if someone just broke the glass to pull the trigger to announce an evacuation, I am still glad our building administrators made sure we were all put to safety. Before we were even allowed to go back in, the firefighters made sure that our buildings were safe from fumes. So for that, I say yay, Dubai Civil Defence for a good job!

It was a long night for us, and up until now, my calves still hurt from taking the stairs (thank goodness we live at the lower floor! imagine those who live at the 25th floor!). Dade was well-behaved the whole time, probably in awe at the number of kids and babies he saw in the lobby that night. He managed to squeeze a nap even. Actually, it was the first time he’s ever been there because we always go straight to Parking Level 1 whenever we leave the flat, so for him, it was a completely new environment.

To those who left messages in FB, thank you to you all! We’re safe, and we’re all good. There were lessons learned after the incident, and I sure hope it doesn’t happen ever again.


1 comment:

cheche said...

glad that you're all safe.