Nepal | May 30, 2020

Disaster waiting to happen?

TIA terminal building emergency exits locked!

Arpana Ale Magar
Share Now:

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

Kathmandu, March 25

If an emergency strikes Tribhuvan International Airport and you are in the terminal building looking for an escape route, chances are you will run into a locked door. That’s because all emergency exits at TIA meant for escaping in case of fire or any other untoward incident are, in fact, chained and locked!

There are 12 emergency exit doors at TIA and all are locked.

According to airport authorities, travellers were misusing the emergency exit doors.  “As the doors are linked to other areas of TIA, people were using them as shortcuts. They also started throwing packets of noodles, cigarettes, biscuits, paper cups and other garbage on the escape route. That is why we decided to shut the doors,” said Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA.

He, however, hastened to add that people do not have to worry, as keys to the locked doors are kept nearby. “We have locked the emergency doors for security purposes. The keys have been kept nearby so that anybody can open the locks in case of an emergency,” he added.

What TIA authorities seem to have overlooked while taking this decision is that fundamentally emergency exit doors must remain open at all times. The Nepal National Building Code 2015 also mentions that exit doors in assembly buildings shall have easy access to escape route. The code adds that people should be able to open emergency exit doors ‘without a key from the inner side’. However, TIA authorities have used chain and a padlock to lock emergency exits.

Being the sole international airport of the country, TIA handles a large number of passengers daily. In such a scenario, a single incident can lead to a disaster if emergency exit doors are locked when people are trying to escape.

Even when the earthquake struck on 25 April 2015 the emergency exit doors were locked. According to an official at TIA, passenger movement was low on that day and passengers were managed somehow.

But that may not be the case when emergency strikes TIA again.

 


A version of this article appears in print on March 26, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Are we doing enough for the mental health of healthcare workers?

The number of coronavirus patients has been increasing over the past few days in Nepal. In the current scenario, it seems like the numbers would further increase in the coming days. Given that healthcare workers and frontline staff are the first responders to manage the ongoing pandemic with limited Read More...

170 new cases take Nepal’s COVID-19 tally to 1,212; MoHP confirms 6th fatality

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population on Friday confirmed that 170 people have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the nationwide tally to 1,212. This has yet again broken the record of single-day cases in Nepal. The new infections were confirmed through tests carried out at the Na Read More...

Sixth Covid-19 death registered in Nepal

KATHMANDU: The sixth Covid-19 associated death has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Population on Friday. On May 23, the youth from Arghakhanchi who was returning from India had died on his way home. His swab was collected and sent to Bhairahawa based lab for testing. His report wa Read More...

Minnesota police arrest CNN reporter on air covering Minneapolis protests

WASHINGTON: The Minnesota State Patrol arrested a CNN reporter reporting live on television early Friday morning while covering the Minneapolis protests, without giving any reason, and led him and three crew members away in handcuffs. Black reporter Omar Jimenez had just shown a protester being Read More...

Ten-man Leipzig held to 2-2 home draw by Hertha

LEIPZIG: RB Leipzig's faint title hopes faded further as they fought out a 2-2 home draw with Hertha Berlin after conceding a late equaliser from the penalty spot, having been reduced to 10 men in a see-saw Bundesliga encounter on Wednesday. The result left Leipzig third on 55 points from 28 Read More...

Nepali Sherpas wait, grow potatoes as Himalayas remain closed due to coronavirus

KATHMANDU: Had it not been for the coronavirus, Nepali climbing guide Tashi Lakpa Sherpa would have been on Mount Everest now, guiding clients and trying to add another feather in his cap - a ninth ascent. But the 34-year-old is sitting in a Kathmandu apartment, worried about his future as a gui Read More...

England ask 55 players to return for training

LONDON: A group of 55 England cricketers have been asked to return to training to prepare for the start of the English summer season that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday. Cricket was shut down in March due to the novel coronavirus Read More...

VIDEO: Nationwide COVID-19 count jumps to 1,212; sixth death reported

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population shared its latest updates on COVID-19 response from across the country, as of today. The total number of coronavirus infection in the country has reached 1,212 with 170 new cases, today. With this, 1,103 males and 109 females have been infected wi Read More...