The management of Achimota Retail Centre, popularly known as Achimota mall, has expressed shock at the misrepresentation of its routine emergency safety drill as a fire outbreak by sections of the media.
Several online media, quoting Starr FM on Thursday, December 30, reported that fire had “gutted portions of Achimota Retail Mall causing injury to some shoppers”
ARC’s Management has dismissed the report as totally false and unfounded and assured the general public that Achimota Retail Centre has not had any fire incident and has been open all day, doing business meetings, the responsibility of serving its numerous customers and patrons during the yuletide season.
In keeping with its strict public safety policy, Achimota Retail Centre runs at least two emergency safety drills every year, ARC Management told news reporters after learning that the second and last simulation exercise for the year has been misreported as a real fire outbreak with ‘casualties’.
“We conduct these emergency simulation exercises every six months in close collaboration with the Ghana National Fire Service and with supervision from other national safety agencies,” ARC’s Operations Manager, Benjamin Appiah Darko said.
“As a public facility which attracts such large numbers of people, these drills are very necessary for testing the efficiency of our safety systems and our preparedness to handle and manage emergencies like fires, stampedes and any other eventualities.
“Although in such exercises, our tenants and in-mall workers are not supposed to have any foreknowledge of the drill, we always pre-consult safety and security agencies like the Mile 7 Police, NADMO, the Municipal Fire Station and the Ambulance Service,” Darko disclosed.
The simulation exercise lasted only 17 minutes, starting from 8:31 am and ending at 8:48 am.
“When all was set, we triggered off our fire alarm system by discharging some artificial smoke. At that time of the morning, there were no customers at the mall so we were particularly interested in the reaction and conduct of our tenants, the ancillary workers and our staff. The movement of people towards designated Assembly Points was impressive.
“Our main collaborators from the Ablekuma Fire Station then moved in with a fire tender to engage and contain an imaginary fire; there was an Ambulance on standby and a demonstration of first aid for a ‘casualty’ followed,” the Operations Manager elaborated.
“On the whole, I would say that management and our safety partners are highly impressed with the conduct of the exercise, as our tenants, ground workers and staff largely complied with established safety protocols and procedures,” Centre Manager Mrs Olivia Torpey said, stressing that ARC is known as one of Accra’s safest and most secure shopping centres and that the management is very determined to safeguard that reputation.