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Dallas Building Managers Review Disaster Plans

February 19, 2010

KERA News & Wire Services

Thursday's plane crash into an Austin office building prompted several Dallas high rise building managers to go over disaster evacuation plans. KERA's BJ Austin reports.


Dan Yates, Gaedeke Group

Dan Yates


"Guys, thanks for coming, appreciate it. Just going to go over your fire plan, the emergency procedures "

Dan Yates, regional manager of the Gaedeke Group, welcomed building managers to a review of disaster evacuation procedures. Yates is responsible for seven high rise office buildings in Dallas-Fort Worth, and is also President of the Texas Building Owners and Managers Association. And he is a former manager of the Echelon 1 building, the target of the suicidal pilot.

Yates: Certainly when I saw it, the initial thing was sadness that something like that had happened.

But, Yates says it did happen, and this should put other building managers and tenants on notice. He called for an immediate review of evacuation plans - especially for employees assigned to what he calls the "fire brigades" on each floor.

Yates: A person at each stairwell to serve as an evacuation guide or stairwell monitor; a person as a searcher that's searching every office to make sure the offices have been vacated; and then a floor warden to oversee all that.

"This is a stairwell that runs from the top floor of the building all the way down to the ground level. And what would happen."

Yates says the stairwell is the lifeline.

Yates: Each tenant would evacuate down through the stairwell, out to the ground level. And they would go generally across the street to a pre-designated area.

Just hours after the plane slammed into the building in Austin, tenants in Dallas' 16 story Gaedeke Group building had a fire drill.

"It went very well. Everyone was outside the front of the building.

That's Louise Wicliffe, a Human Resources Manager. She says she's aware fire, tornadoes or worse could be real threats to a high rise and the people inside, but she doesn't dwell on it.

Wicliffe: I've been working in high rises for 30 or more years, so no, it doesn't strike a panic. As long as you know what the protocol is, and most everybody here does: so, just a normal everyday function to know to get out of the building and how to do that.

Employees in the Echelon 1 building in Austin say they has practiced the evacuation plan, and that helped keep them calm and get them out of the burning building.

Email BJ Austin

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