Thursday, August 14, 2014

Windows in high-rise buildings need to be properly secured - Gulf News Dt. 14 August 2014

When parking my car at a multi-level car park in Abu Dhabi, I heard the sound of two sets of children playing nearby. One was from the ground level where a group of children were playing football. Searching for the other set, my eyes reached the top floor of a highrise building. I was shocked to see that two windows of an apartment were left open and a set of children were stretching themselves out and trying some tricks.

It was indeed shocking for me! They had clearly seen me standing below and observing them for a long time. As if one group of children seemed to have gotten the message, suddenly one of the windows shut and my focus was now on the other one, where the remaining children continued their activities.
I didn’t wait any longer and went ahead and alerted the watchman of the building. He told me that he was helpless, as the children never listened to him.

I was fearing three different types of dangers. First, the window panels of such buildings are mostly easily accessible. What happens, if the children or even if it is adults, slip and fall?

Second was the danger of the items kept on the window slab. What happens, if one of the item falls down through the open window and someone happens to be passing by or standing below at that crucial moment?

Third and not of least importance is the mischievous act that many residents have had to experience. Some children throw water bottles or cans or even plastic bags filled with water at pedestrians who are passing by the building. A few days ago, my wife and I escaped such an act by a whisker!
It doesn’t end there, these windows are used many a times by residents to dry their laundry. The windows are left partially open and the clothes act as an eyesore to a beautiful city image.

Authorities in the capital have asked for a mandatory lock for windows on highrise buildings. I request authorities and building owners to make a quick check and make sure that it is installed wherever it is not.

In addition, reputed organisations should cross check that the apartments where the employees are living have all the required safety equipment installed.

Let us all work together to put an effort to make safety a core value that can never be ignored even for a moment. Let no accidents, or even death, occur due to ignorance or carelessness.

The reader is a technical officer based in Abu Dhabi.

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