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Disaster plan plea

MEGATOWER OWNERS must take over responsibility for disaster management and appoint trained disaster managers to control occupant response to emergencies, leading structural engineers said.

'Someone on the spot should be ready and able to decide when and how the building should be evacuated, ' said Arup director Faith Wainwright, a member of Arup's extreme events mitigation task force.

Reports suggest that many of those who died on 11 September remained at their desks in accordance with the phased evacuation plans designed to deal with conventional fires.

Simultaneous evacuation of all occupants has usually been seen as risky due to the limited escape routes available.

Connell Mott MacDonald divisional director James Bennett said that creating extra escape capacity would be difficult.

'Clearly, current management procedures need to be reviewed and a full disaster management plan prepared for major office buildings, ' he added. 'Building owners will need to appoint managers who are properly trained to evaluate risk and control evacuations effectively.'

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