Resort’s false alarm turns into good fire drill

Tigh-Na-Mara staff quick to respond to fire alarm going off as event turns into a drill

Tigh-Na-Mara GM Paul Drummond (left)

The general Manager of Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort is impressed with how his staff handled a false fire alarm over the lunch hour on Sat., Jan. 28, with the quick reaction of the Parksville Fire Department.

Paul Drummond came into work for a few hours to do some paperwork on Saturday, a day he thought would be quiet. Just before 1 p.m. the fire alarm went off in the main building and about half a dozen guests who were dining in the Cedar Room were escorted out of the building by staff. Drummond said not only was he relieved there was no fire, he was also pleased to see his staff carry out the resort’s emergency evacuation plan expertly.

“It’s encouraging to know the staff did what they had to do.  There was no hint of smoke and they went to their evacuation spots.  The system works exactly as it should,” he stated.

Fire Chief Doug Banks agreed everything was handled well.

“It was a good fire drill,” he said.

Drummond said that just last week members of his team also sprang into action after a young child pulled a fire alarm.  e said even though they saw the child do it, staff members followed proper procedures and he said he is pleased to see such incidents are taken seriously. Drummond said any patrons in the restaurant Saturday who had to abandon their meals were taken care of, so nobody left grumpy.

Peter and Teila Joyce of Qualicum Beach were in the middle of eating their lunch in the Cedar Room when staff told them they had to leave. The couple, who had spent Friday night at the resort, said despite the interruption they were still enjoying their mini stay-cation.

Drummond said the resort recently reviewed its emergency planning procedures with employees in light of the unprecedented earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March.

Mike Chislett, the resort’s concierge, was horrified at the devastation that unfolded in Japan and it prompted him to take a hard look at the resort’s own emergency preparedness plans. He discovered more current information was be available and contacted WorkSafeBC right away to look for more resources.

Drummond said since then the resort has been improving its emergency readiness plan including moving its evacuation areas away from parking lots surrounded by large trees toward more open areas.

He said on Saturday the staff were in the designated areas mapped out in their evacuation plan.

As a resort, Drummond said Tigh-Na-Mara must not only consider its nearly 300 employees but also, in high season, up to 800 guests staying in rooms spread across the resort’s nine hectares. He said the resort already had many good practices in place, including radio communication between night employees to ensure that whatever the hazard, people are able to stay in contact.


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