Blickling Hall to look again at evacuation procedure following a complaint after a false fire alarm

Blickling Hall is to look at improving its ground-floor evacuation procedure after a visitor said people were left trapped and panicking when a fire alarm was accidentally set off today.

The alarm was sounded at the listed building shortly after 2pm on Thursday, August 23.

One eye witness, who was in the ground floor kitchen at the time of the incident, described the evacuation of the stately home as a 'shambles'.

She said the fire doors slammed shut, trapping about 30 people for up to five minutes before a volunteer arrived and led them to safety.

The witness, who has asked not to be named, said: 'We were in the ground floor kitchens and there were no staff on duty and no signs. Everyone went the wrong way and couldn't get through the fire doors. Volunteers eventually arrived but some children were terrified they would be trapped. One volunteer told me it was a mess and questions would be asked.'

Blickling Hall duty manager Kenny Gray said: 'For us it worked well today, when the alarm sounds we have three minutes to clear the house and today we did that with time to spare.

'The ground floor kitchens are not always manned by volunteers, but we do have what we call a response house rover, whose duty it is to clear that area. Today they reached the group within 90 seconds of the alarm sounding. The escape fire door in that area of the house isn't far away at all and so we're saddened to hear that the experience wasn't a pleasant one for some. We do take matters like this very seriously, as you never know when it's going to be the real thing and therefore will look again at improving the evacuation process in this area of the house.'

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