Several years ago in Saudi Arabia a fire at a girls’ school resulted in several deaths due to inability of responding to the fire call because of gates that protected the school against male intrusion. Principals of girls’ schools in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia have been instructed to contact the Civil Defense in order to voice concerns over safety violations in school buildings. Lt. Hamad Al-Juaid, chief of Civil Defense admitted there were many safety loopholes in those schools, but blamed the Girls’ Education Department which refused to allow his men into the schools to deal with violations.
The Civil Defense made clear girls’ schools are vulnerable to fire which could resist in the loss of life of many girls, but the Education Department will not allow his agency to act. “They turned their backs on our recommendations to remove steel fences from emergency exists and gates” which he insisted would hurt rescue efforts.
One can only wonder how the Saudi government can remain so blind to dangers facing girls who are attending school. What will it take, another tragedy?