Tamweel Tower residents say having an ‘exit plan’ helps

Having contents insurance and an emergency suitcase help fire victims cope

Gulf News

Dubai: Emergencies such as fire can change lives in the blink of an eye. Having an "exit plan" for the whole family can help during and after the tragedy, some residents of the Tamweel Tower fire told Gulf News.

Almost half of the 34-storey mixed-use tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) was engulfed by a massive fire early on Sunday morning.

Hundreds of residents from the 160 residential apartments were displaced during the fire, with many fleeing just in their pyjamas, while others didn’t even have slippers.

Some were fortunate enough to bring their mobile phones and wallets with them. But there were others who, because of the confusion, just took the most important thing to them — their kids or pets — before fleeing to safety.

Among them was British expat Nita, who lived on the 8th floor.

“As long as we’ve got our precious one, our daughter, everything else is replaceable as we have contents insurance,” the housewife said.

“It’s a common practice in the UK and everywhere we go, we see to it our house and its contents are insured,” she added.

American expatriate Sal, who lived on the 14th floor, said having building insurance is not enough so he had taken contents insurance as a precaution.

“It’s cheap, maybe around Dh700. If you don’t get to use it for a year, it won’t hurt. But it’s times like these that you need it and it’s better than nothing,” said Sal, adding he knew only three people from Tamweel Tower that had contents insurance.

Putting all valuables in one suitcase also helps, Sal said.

“We have an emergency bag in the corner where we keep our important documents like passports and valuables like cash, jewellery. We put it in a Ziploc bag so we can get it anytime. It’s our exit plan,” Sal, who lost half of his house to the fire, said.

Homer Ocsio, a Filipino resident from the 8th floor, did the same thing.

“We always have one suitcase where we keep our important belongings including documents and passports, attested documents and we call it our emergency suitcase so that in an event of an emergency, we can just grab it and go.”

More Pictures