Staff and customers at the Derby Avenue Branch of CalBank caused chaos in the early hours of last Thursday, when the fire alarm went off, with smoke emanating from the bank’s offices.
The alarm did not only distract work activities of the bank, but also caused market women and passers-by to halt their activities and attend to what looked like a fire outbreak in the centre of the central business district of Accra.
Staff and customers of the bank quickly made their way out of the building, gathering at the assembly point with a quick head count ensuring that all that were in the building were safe.
The chaos heightened when a staff of the bank was pulled out of the building after being choked by the smoke from the fire.
About 10 minutes into the incident, a fire tender and an ambulance arrived on the premises to quench the fire and ensure that affected individuals were properly taken care of.
Calm was restored when personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service announced that what had happened was a mock fire safety drill to test the preparedness of staff of the bank in a fire emergency.
A victim of the fire outbreak being rescued by personnel of the National Ambulance Service during the simulation.
The Head of Risk Management at CalBank, Saddick Arthur, said the exercise was a collaboration with the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and part of the bank’s annual activities and business continuity to test their system and check the preparedness of their staff.
“The exercise is part of our annual programme to safeguard the customers of the bank and ensure that in any unfortunate and unforeseen incident, the bank can respond appropriately,” he said
He said the outcome of the exercise would be evaluated and the bank’s staff training would be intensified where the need be.
The Branch Manager of CalBank, Derby Avenue Branch, Alberta Taylor, said although the fire drill was unexpected and a surprise to them, it was an educative and reassuring moment for them.
“At least now our customers would know that anytime there is a fire emergency, the bank is prepared and the fire service would be quick to attend and moreover, their businesses are safe with us,” she said.
She gave an assurance that staff of the bank would be given further fire safety training to be always prepared for such incidents.
The Security Coordinator of CalBank, Thomas Addai Nketsiah, called on all to be cautious and always prepared to deal with fire emergencies.
“We all know that fire is very distractive so each and every one of us should take precautionary measures against fire and always be prepared to deal with fire and protect lives and properties,” he said.