Dubai's Burj Khalifa will conduct a fire drill on Monday to put safety measures to the test as preparations take shape for dazzling New Year's Eve celebrations.
The world's largest building serves as a focal point of the emirate's annual plans to ring in a new year in style with dramatic pyrotechnic displays.
Huge crowds are expected to congregate in the Downtown Dubai area this year to bid farewell to 2022.
Recent New Year's Eve events have been scaled back — both in Dubai and across the globe — due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But a party atmosphere is expected next month with most Covid-19 restrictions now lifted across the country.
Testing emergency response
The annual fire and evacuation exercise will start at 10am on Monday.
The drill, held in partnership with Dubai Civil Defence, will test site personnel response, external and internal communication, equipment handling and response time, in the event of an emergency situation arising.
Residents, hotel guests and employees will all participate in the drill.
“Such exercises allow the company to respond to emergencies in the most effective manner in case of real time crises,” said the Burj Khalifa management team in a statement.
“Burj Khalifa has put in every effort to ensure the employees are well prepared and proactively respond to fire and life-threatening emergencies with a minimum rescue response time.
Last year's drill involved crews putting out a mock blaze on the 112th floor.
The full building evacuation prepared residents and visitors for a fire caused by shooting fireworks on New Year's Eve.
The drill began at 10am when a fire alarm sounded and a call was made to the civil defence operations room. Fire crews from the nearby Zaabeel fire station were at the scene in four minutes and raced up to the 112th floor. The site commander said the entire exercise was carried out within 10 minutes.
On December 31, Burj Khalifa will host a cutting-edge laser light and fireworks show on and around its famed facade, with the hope of “turning the iconic tower into a shining beacon of hope, happiness and harmony for 2023”.
While the light and sound spectacle will dominate the Dubai skyline, the Dubai Fountain at the building’s base will also dance in sync with the show.
According to Burj Khalifa developer Emaar, the New Year's Eve celebrations will be seen on television by a billion viewers around the world.
The light show will set a new world record for the largest laser display with the light beams travelling the longest distance yet recorded.