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Fire Warnings a Threat to Dreamworld


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#1 ThemeParksAustralia

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:20 PM

I heard on the radio before that the Queensland Fire Service has been running around and making calls over the last week notifying bush businesses and houses about the fire threat that is currently existent in Queensland. Dreamworld was in one of these "threat" areas. As yet, no action has been taken, but apparently, should there be even the slightest raise in danger levels of a fire occuring in the Coomera bushland area, Dreamworld will have to shut off business (as legally, that's all they are, a business) until the warning ceases. Any thoughts on that?

Edited by ThemeParksAustralia, 07 April 2008 - 06:05 PM.


#2 jjuttp

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:32 PM

that would be bad for the following: -jobs and getting paid -if someone has a scheduled appointment or a interview or somthing like just taking time off for that 1 moment -the animals -something could happen to someones favourite ride or something -construction or fixing a ride or setting up for one (who knows they might even be bringing back nightmares or someting soon (hopefully)) -somethig importaint might be happening at that time but then they will haveto ecacuate -unseen ride damages -etc :o :huh: :( :mellow:

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#3 nev

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:06 PM

Businesses don't have to cease trading - even during a fire the authorities can't force anybody to leave their premises or business. Obviously in the event of a real fire one would hope that common sense prevails and Dreamworld would evacuate, but to shut down businesses and evacuate people simply because it's hot, windy and dry? Nobody would ever get any work done! In most of Australia, most places run total fire bans and promote extreme levels of risk throughout summer.

Unless a fire breaks out that actually poses a credible threat to Dreamworld, it's not going to close. Simple as that.

#4 ThemeParksAustralia

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:25 PM

Businesses don't have to cease trading - even during a fire the authorities can't force anybody to leave their premises or business. Obviously in the event of a real fire one would hope that common sense prevails and Dreamworld would evacuate, but to shut down businesses and evacuate people simply because it's hot, windy and dry? Nobody would ever get any work done! In most of Australia, most places run total fire bans and promote extreme levels of risk throughout summer.

Unless a fire breaks out that actually poses a credible threat to Dreamworld, it's not going to close. Simple as that.



By law, the fire authorities are obliged to instruct business to cease in certain areas. These areas are the areas where fire threats are at their most prominent. The Gold Coast Hinterland bushland, which is where Coomera is located, is one of these areas. In your own words, common sense prevails. Yes, it does. Which means that the fire authorities would be aware of Dreamworld's economic and statutory footprint in the country - which would in turn make them even more wary as to the chance of fire and damage to what is one of Australia's largest money-makers.

In hindsight, it all depends on how you choose to word and read your reply. No, the authorities can't force anybody to do anything. But management and staff at Dreamworld would be well aware of the potential threats of a dangerous fire. The easy solution would be to rid of the threat before it becomes anything more.

Now, all things being equal, that would mean either:
a: extinguish the fire; or
b: evacuate Dreamworld.

We've all seen the news articles saying "firefighters can't keep up with the blaze" etc. It's not as simple as 'put the fire out'.

The news I heard did not say that if there was a 'threat' or a 'chance' of a fire, the park would be evacuated. I do understand how silly that would be. Threats and fire dangers come out all the time. Instead, the news said what you replied with - if a fire that posed a credible threat to Dreamworld broke out, the park would be evacuated.

Worse news than this has surfaced. Two years ago, there was a petition by a group of environmentalists (the name of which I can't recall), who asked that Dreamworld be 'relocated' to a less fire-prone area. Did it happen? No. Is this strategy that the fire authorities are putting into place now going to work? Probably not. It's nothing new. I'm not biased to one side of the argument or another, rather stating what I heard.

Edited by ThemeParksAustralia, 07 April 2008 - 06:25 PM.


#5 nev

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:06 PM

... be aware of Dreamworld's economic and statutory footprint in the country - which would in turn make them even more wary as to the chance of fire and damage to what is one of Australia's largest money-makers.


Are you kidding me? Dreamworld as one of Australia's largest money makers? In comparison to what exactly? Any large entertainment venue (such as a stadium, big theatre, etc) in the country would have an income of comparable size, not to mention places of similar land size (mines, office blocks, etC) making potentially millions more each day.

The bottom line is that Dreamworld won't be closed unless a fire breaks out... and this is where large companies like Macquarie come into the picture. If a park can be cleared in a short period of time at the end of a day for regular closing, then an evacuation is going to be child's play. These places are built to handle masses of people as part of their normal operation. If a fire broke out in surrounding bushland, chances are there'd be more than enough time to get everyone out. No public company is going to close down an operation because, and I maintain, it is hot and windy - which is ALL the warning you get before a fire breaks out.

And besides all this, risk management studies are done and maintained out of choice and out of nessessity for insurance and OH&S requirements. If the threat was that big, there'd be measures in place to work with / around / best manage any threat that existed, which I'm sure Dreamworld has in place. Ever think it might be more than just coincidence that there's a bloody enormous lake on the site?

#6 Lotl_90

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:15 PM

Adding to what Nev said, Dreamworld Staff are all trained on their compulsory company induction day on what measures to take in the case of an emergency or evacuation, and a compulsory Fire Training course has to be done by ALL staff once a year as part of their ongoing training programs, as im sure is the same with all other theme parks and major establishments. (correct me if im wrong..) If a situation was to arise at Dreamworld, like a fire, staff would know how to react appropriately, and even if they arent sure, there is bound to be someone around who can look at a safety map and see where to evacuate to and wait for instruction. Its an easy process and im sure that if a situation ever arose it would be dealt with efficiently enough to get anyone out of the way of harm with minimal fuss. Because of all of this its extremely unlikely that Dreamworld will cease trading until, if at all, a situation like this comes up.

#7 ThemeParksAustralia

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:39 AM

If a park can be cleared in a short period of time at the end of a day for regular closing, then an evacuation is going to be child's play.


At any establishment, whether it be an educational facility or an entertainment venue, 'closing times' are easy to manage because people in that facility or venue are well aware of them. They know when the place is closing, and most make their way out before then. You simply cannot compare Dreamworld's closure times and clearing times to an evacuation. There are numerous factors differing the two:

1. Like stated above, at the end of Dreamworld's normal working day, people are aware of the time that the park is closing and are out, like I said before, mostly before the 5pm mark. An evacuation doesn't have the pre-knowledge of everyone in the park, so therefore would be a harder park clearing than a regular day.

2. There would be, as there always is, confusion. It all gets down to that word. Elaboration: some people are not going to realise what is going on - sure, the message might get out quickly with the help of Dreamworld's PA systems and staff, however at least 9% of all patrons in Dreamworld on any given day are foreign or primarily speak a different language. Dreamworld doesn't have the staff numbers to cater for every single one of those people. There's also the issue of children, people in queues, people on rides, etc. These things are not a problem when Dreamworld is nearing its regular closing time.

3. Congestion. Should there be an emergency situation, and an evacuation is required, you can just imagine how congested it's going to get at the front entrance. Even if there are other evacuation routes, most likely most people will head to the front of the park - they know it's there and they know they can get out via there. Should it be a "real" fire or emergency, people are most likely going to panic. No matter how much "please stay calm" is issued over the mics, people are always going to panic. Is that an issue? Yes and no. Yes, because it in turn makes it very difficult to get out without running, screaming etc. This causes more confusion and chaos. And this confusion and chaos again isn't evident at Dreamworld's regular closing time. No, because it's a natural human reaction. We panic. Simple. The congestion that would be present in an evacuation far outdoes the congestion at Dreamworld's closing.

Ever think it might be more than just coincidence that there's a bloody enormous lake on the site?


The lake was not built for fire management. It alone would not stop a bushfire. And since a fire can come from any direction, if the lake was there for fire management, it would be pointless to put one at the near-back of the park and not put a few here and there everywhere else. I certainly wouldn't say Dreamworld is using that lake as a fire precaution.

#8 joz

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:44 PM

Are you kidding me? An evacuation would be so much quicker then closing time. At closing time people casually make their way to the exit, with no pressure beyond a friendly "its closing time" reminder, rides run till the queues are empty and shops continue to serve everyone. You can be assured in an evacuation its all hands on deck, everything closes within a couple of mins of each other, and the place would clear out MUCH quicker. I can also assure you there is not going to be any Mass panic during a park evacuation. The only way your going to end up with panic is if the staff panic, and DW staff are not going to panic or even show signs of panic.

#9 skeetafly

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 01:07 PM

I don't think there has been any increase in a fire risk in southeast Queensland. If you havenít noticed it has been one of our wettest summers for years. As a building designer, dreamworld would have no problems getting people out.

#10 ThemeParksAustralia

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 03:50 PM

A wet Summer does not decrease the chance of fire, nor does it mean that after Summer's gone (which it has), there is no fire risk. There is an increase, and I'm not going to be held accountable for these remarks. I heard them on a news bulletin on my local station. This isn't my infromation, nor did I have any plan to make it seem that way.

#11 Spotty

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:28 PM

Going by what Joz is saying, Yes the staff will panic and worry. But they will not show this, Recently working at Movie World there fire training was very informative. It was brief but it focused on the main points: What to do in the event of an Evacuation (Remain Calm, and Get staff and patrons out via the quickest safe route) Fire Extinguisher usage and all the other general stuff. I would presume that Dreamworld / WhiteWater World would have similar training practices available. So the staff would know what to do in the event of an Evacuation. And as it has been previously mentioned, Dreamworld staff have to have a refresher course every year and it is also part of COMPULSORY company induction. Also never seeing a mass evacuation before, I can't judge on how promptly they could evacuate the whole property, but it would be quicker than a standard "Home Time" procedure. But one thing that would take some time to do and would be VERY risky, is the animals. Now back in 2003 when there was the Canberra bush fires (which I was there for) They had to evacuate the National Zoo / Aquarium, and I have NO idea what they did with the animals. There is no way they would have been left there as the whole parkway (main road) going past there was completely closed off. So that would raise another interesting point with evacuating the park.
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#12 jjuttp

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:44 PM

you were just going into even more detail then what i just put up at the top :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

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#13 Gazza

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 06:48 PM

^That made no sense whatsoever.

Edited by Gazza, 08 April 2008 - 07:57 PM.


#14 Rollercoaster13

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:19 PM

that would be bad for the following:
-jobs and getting paid
-if someone has a scheduled appointment or a interview or somthing like just taking time off for that 1 moment
-the animals
-something could happen to someones favourite ride or something
-construction or fixing a ride or setting up for one (who knows they might even be bringing back nightmares or someting soon (hopefully))
-somethig importaint might be happening at that time but then they will haveto ecacuate
-unseen ride damages
-etc :o :huh: :( :mellow:


Going by what Joz is saying, Yes the staff will panic and worry. But they will not show this, Recently working at Movie World there fire training was very informative. It was brief but it focused on the main points:

What to do in the event of an Evacuation (Remain Calm, and Get staff and patrons out via the quickest safe route)
Fire Extinguisher usage and all the other general stuff.

I would presume that Dreamworld / WhiteWater World would have similar training practices available. So the staff would know what to do in the event of an Evacuation. And as it has been previously mentioned, Dreamworld staff have to have a refresher course every year and it is also part of COMPULSORY company induction.

Also never seeing a mass evacuation before, I can't judge on how promptly they could evacuate the whole property, but it would be quicker than a standard "Home Time" procedure. But one thing that would take some time to do and would be VERY risky, is the animals.

Now back in 2003 when there was the Canberra bush fires (which I was there for) They had to evacuate the National Zoo / Aquarium, and I have NO idea what they did with the animals. There is no way they would have been left there as the whole parkway (main road) going past there was completely closed off. So that would raise another interesting point with evacuating the park.

you were just going into even more detail then what i just put up at the top :angry:

^That made no sense whatsoever

i think thats what he meant not sure

Edited by PixelPushed, 08 April 2008 - 07:22 PM.


#15 jjuttp

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:27 PM

thank you you are probally the first ever person to acctually understand me :rolleyes: :huh: :blink: ;)

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#16 Rollercoaster13

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    Panic at the disco is the best!

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:40 PM

:mellow::huh: ^_^ :o ;) :P have you got Dyslexia

Edited by PixelPushed, 08 April 2008 - 07:47 PM.


#17 Gazza

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:53 PM

How? You were both talking about different things? In the first instance jjuttp was talking about the possible negative effects (Eg disruptions to jobs, danger to animals, delays to construction projects, damage to rides) On the other hand Spotty was talking about safety training and the logistics of evacuations. They are both completely different aspects so how can somebody be going into more detail when they are talking about something different. And why are you getting all :angry: at him? He is allowed to write what he wants. Were you embarrassed he had written something better than you?

Edited by Gazza, 08 April 2008 - 07:54 PM.


#18 Lotl_90

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:26 PM

...What to do in the event of an Evacuation (Remain Calm, and Get staff and patrons out via the quickest safe route)
Fire Extinguisher usage and all the other general stuff.

I would presume that Dreamworld / WhiteWater World would have similar training practices available. So the staff would know what to do in the event of an Evacuation. And as it has been previously mentioned, Dreamworld staff have to have a refresher course every year and it is also part of COMPULSORY company induction.

....

Also never seeing a mass evacuation before, I can't judge on how promptly they could evacuate the whole property, but it would be quicker than a standard "Home Time" procedure.


Dreamworld and Whitewater World are extremely similar. Most of it is coneyed in a way that is relevant to the individual department staff that are at that particular session (eg. What to do when working in a retail outlet if an evacuation is ordered, or when working on a ride etc.) So that each little aspect of the park does its part to help out the procedures, making for less problem. This is done in such a way that it reduces stress to staff and guests, therefore again, making the procedure smoother.

Another thing that helps is the fast reaction times of supervising/senior staff at DW/WWW. The moment an emergency is announced via 2-way etc, anyone who is available runs to attend. Its been shown recently with ride breakdowns (rapids for example) and medical incidents. Just these little displays of quick thinking and confidence show that something like an evacuation would be handled quickly, easily and with minimal disruption.

As for the animals, that would be a little bit of a pain in the rectal region, but im sure there are contingency plans in place. Annoyingly difficult though im sure.

#19 Spotty

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:29 PM

Yeah, I can imagine. I've seen a few incidents at Dreamworld over the past few years. One comes to mind that I saw about 9 months ago now. Someone was in Goldrush and somehow managed to crack there head open. I then went into "Fairytale Treasures" and told a staff member, within about one minute there were several medics and staff sorting the situation out. So this would be another example of how efficient the systems they have in place really are.
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#20 AlexB

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 04:36 PM

Of course, there can be procedures in place for any eventuality. I was myself responsible for saving part of the bush beast one time. I'm pretty sure i've spoken about this before, but in case I haven't, here it is: It was a quiet weekday at Wonderland, the usual tour buses, a few school groups, and I was teaching a new guy the ropes on some of our games in goldrush. (As it happened, it was the games stalls at the bottom end of goldrush, outside Bush Beast, which was closed for annual maintenance) A group of school kids were gathered in between the entrance to bush beast and the toilet block, pointing at bush beast and laughing, shouting out "bush beast is on fire, bush beast is on fire." Now, as far as my emergency training at the park went, the most we ever received was "call 333" which was the emergency number for the park. I dumped my money belt under the counter, told my newbie to watch the belt and call 333, and tell them there was a fire on bush beast, and ran past the school kids, over the fence and to the fire hose (for those that remember, they had a hessian cover over the top of them). I ran out the hose, turned it on, and started spraying the track that was affected. The pressure wasn't enough to reach the track, and I climbed the structure to the first cross-member, where the hose reached the track. I stood in that spot for more than 20 minutes, until the fire response truck arrived, and one of our firemen (read: security staff) climbed onto the roof of the land cruiser and onto the track, ran up the catwalk and lathered the track (and me, standing below) in layers of fire retardant foam. Now of course, this is an example of a POORLY planned fire-prevention plan. Wonderland's location meant there was a good chance of fire in the area... reading this thread made me think about this again and realise that they were lucky they had a senior with some common sense instead of a junior without a clue. The only reason I knew of the fire hose was spending years at the park as a teenager watching the bush beast cycle from that same spot.... It's good to hear that DW does have a somewhat better plan....

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