What do you do when one of Perth’s most iconic features is in danger of burning, with patrons inside and several employees missing?
For DFES this scenario was played out a couple of months ago with a Complex Building Exercise taking place for the first time at His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth.
Perth, Daglish and Fremantle Fire Stations were involved in the exercise including the new communications vehicle, the Forward Operations Vehicle (FOV).
Acting District Officer Steve Rogers, who oversaw the exercise, believes it is of vital importance that these types of enactments are carried out in buildings of this nature throughout Perth.
“It’s a chance to set up and test our procedures in an historical building, and with a theatre there are different risks, such as a basement, higher areas and an audience to worry about,” Steve said.
“It’s also about making sure our procedures not only match for a high rise or complex building, but also for historical type buildings.”
To help portray a realistic scenario, smoke machines, rescue dummies and actors re-enacting casualties were used.
Manager of Communications and Programming at the Perth Theatre Trust Shauna Weeks saw the chance to test the theatre’s emergency procedures in a hypothetical situation and it was something they were enthusiastic to do.
“I was really surprised by how calm everyone was. We were quite nervous to begin with as we have never had an exercise like this before,” Shauna said.
“For the first time our business systems and infrastructures were tested beyond fire alarms and practice evacuations.
“The calm manner in which the firefighters carried themselves, and the excellent communication and the willingness to work with us as we pushed the exercise to its fullest extent gave us immense confidence in DFES and our staff.
“We feel really confident about being able to protect our amazing heritage and guests to the theatre should we ever need to.”
His Majesty’s Theatre is an Edwardian Baroque theatre and was constructed from 1902 to 1904 after a period of immense growth in Perth.
At the time of its building, it was the largest theatre in Australia and seated over 2,500 people.
DFES regularly conducts scenario based training exercises in order to ensure staff and volunteers are trained to the highest standards.