Is Mysore ready if disaster strikes during Dasara?

E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: Some of the aspects which need careful consideration during the Dasara Celebrations in Mysore, especially in view of recent happenings in Malegaon, Mumbai and other places:

1. Both at Amba Vilas Palace as well as Exhibition Grounds, there is a need to set up a ‘Medical Emergency Facility’. They should make sure availabilty of a full fledged doctor, couple of nurses who can administer Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. (CPR). The facility should have a BP apparatus, stretcher, oxygen cylinder and basic medicine needed during emergency. This is a minimum requirement when you anticipate a crowd of more than 5000 people everyday.

2. In the event of a disaster of a fire or disturbance due to antisocial elements, in a congregation of thousands of people, stampedes even for a few minutes could result in a large number of deaths, especially children and women. (Remember the stampede at Lucknow Railway Station a couple of years back.) Hence, the passage of movement of people should be monitored continuously and action taken to ensure that crowd is dispersed quickly.

3. There should be a display of name of persons with mobile numbers to be contacted in case of emergency such as police, Hospital, Blood bank etc. These should be put up in some kind of a hoarding so that everybody is aware of whom to contact. Giving this info. in a brochures is fine , but in an emergency nobody has time to search a brochure or its contents.

4. In an exhibition of this kind, especially when we want tourists to visit, one of the worst organised facilities are the toilets! Most of the time, they are inaccessible, not traceable and when you finally get to one, either it is stinking or the water doesn’t flow from the tap. More often, It flows through a leakage at the entrance itself! We have to treat toilets as important as eateries or stalls. There should be sign boards indicating the direction and ensure they are clean and maintained regularly.

5. In the event of a disaster of a large magnitude, is there a checklist showing ‘ who does what’? Who gives commands to whom and how does the chain work? ( Remember when Reagan was shot and the confusion thereafter.) This is imporatant as valuable time is lost in not knowing what to do, whom to approach etc. In case of major catastrophies ( You have to plan and be ready to face it when and if it occurs .

Let’s not think they won’t happen here, and hence there is no need to prepare for them etc.)

a. Are there enough fire fighting devices? Do the fire hydrants have water in them? More often, fire fighters find they cannot access from the hydrants.
b Have vehicles, VIP cars been parked there blocking access to fire hydrants ? Make sure hydrants are reachable, and water can be accessed from there.
c Have hospitals, enough qty. of blood of various types? Can all the hospitals pool their resources?
d. Who does and when, if he one has to announce something on the Radio or TV giving accurate info so that rumours do not float around. Or if they want blood donation from Public.

It is good to know that they are going to use metal detectors at the entrance to Palace. Can they have CCTV at the entrance? This will give a boost to public confidence too and strengthen the efforts of police.

** Are there other important points Churumuri readers would like to add to the list?