Mon, Jun 15, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taipei posts poll about Dome safety

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday launched an interactive survey on Facebook asking city residents to determine a safety index for the controversial Taipei Dome project.

The five-question survey presents two options for each question on the structure’s evacuation and emergency response plan, with illustrations to help respondents grasp the scenarios described in each question.

Each option is assigned a weighting of either three or 10 points.

Respondents are then asked to calculate the total score based on their choices, with the perfect score, 50, denoting the “safest” and 15, the least safe.

Likening the Dome to an “egg,” a term commonly used by Chinese-speaking groups to refer to dome arenas, the survey shows people what kind of egg they would get based on the safety level determined from their answers.

Based on the level of safety obtained in a respondent’s answers, the results range from “soft” scrambled eggs; “half-done” eggs Benedict; an “average” boiled egg; or a tiedan (鐵蛋, extremely tough) egg.

The survey asks respondents to consider fundamental issues that Ko’s administration has identified as crucial points during evacuation, but has been unable to resolve during its negotiations with project contractor Farglory Group (遠雄集團).

These include the accessibility of emergency exits, the pace at which people move and the space that should be reserved for the passage of ambulance and fire trucks in case of an emergency.

Saying that a square meter of space can usually accommodate three people at demonstrations and up to four people in MRT stations, the online survey asks respondents to picture how crowded the Taipei Dome would be during emergency evacuations and how spacious they thought the evacuation passages should be.

The poll has sparked heated discussions among netizens, eliciting thousands of responses within hours of its posting.

“Kudos [to the mayor]. Now I understand why the city government is so serious about its argument with Farglory. They should do this more often so young people can better understand [public issues],” a Facebook user named Yeh Chi-che (葉其澈) said.

“People’s pace during an evacuation should be compared with how slowly they move during New Year’s Eve celebrations,” another said.

“Since Taiwan has never had such a massive building set to be completed at the heart of a metropolis, the current safety standard is no longer sufficient to guarantee the safety of the Taipei Dome. Although the Dome conforms to the standard, that does not necessarily mean it is safe,” Ko wrote on Facebook.

He said that the Ministry of the Interior’s safety inspections on the project assessed only the complex’s preparedness against fires, but the municipal government is concerned about the site’s preparedness for several emergency scenarios.

The survey was designed after factoring in various scenarios in the hopes that a more stringent safety standards would be introduced to protect people attending events at the Dome, Ko said.

The remarks signaled a change from the attitude he adopted last week when he said that the city government had not ruled out the possibility of easing the safety standard it previously applied to the project.

The mayor has requested that the interior ministry’s Construction and Planning Agency determine a safety standard for the Taipei Dome.

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