On March 8, 2012 a fire at a major tourist hotel in Bangkok killed one foreign tourist and injured about 20 others. Rescue workers used cranes to pluck guests from the smoke-filled 221-room Grand Park Avenue Hotel off the Sukhumvit Road in the Thai capital.
Andrew Wood, National President of Skal in Thailand, issued the following comments on this tragic accident:
• I strongly urge independant inspections of all categories of accommodation especially ‘older’ buildings, built in the 80’s and 90’s, when our current legislation was introduced.
• NOT to address the problem of installing fire sprinkler systems into our older and often ‘budget’ category of hotels, is in my mind irresponsible, and will put our golden goose (international tourism) under increased pressure.
• There are a number of ‘Health & Safety’ companies which have been set up recently in Thailand that can assist and advise hotel accommodation providers on fire, health and safety issues.
• The legislation in Europe is particularly detailed and complex. Failure to comply will led to refusal by TA/Wholesalers/Tour Operators to use a product as the legal and financial implications of failing to comply are significant.
• It is important that short cuts are not made – a false economy in the long term and possibly illegal as well as unsafe.
• I would also like to see the hospitality industry be it’s own watchdog with reassurances of action and follow-up by TAT and the THA (Thai Hotel Association). After all it is it’s members, the GM’s and hotel engineers, that are legally responsible, not owners.
• And finally in the interest of good communication and public service to help set the safety bar higher, the introduction of a new certification system for buildings of all ages covering fire health & safety.