Preparing for the Worst

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Abdul Kaid’s job is to protect the residents of the 35-story office building where he works

By Allen Houston

Abdul Kaid, 44, the building fire safety and emergency action plan director for 1350 Sixth Avenue, has to be prepared in case of the worst.

The Yemen native, who moved to the states in 1984, oversees all safety complaints for the 35-story office building, including making sure that the office’s residents are ready for everything from fires to manmade threats to natural disasters.

“It’s a big responsibility and I like the challenge of it,” he said. “No matter what the situation, I can’t show any signs of panic. The people here expect me to stay calm and guide them to safety in case something unexpected happens.”

Abdul Kaid is responsible for the safety of the 3,000 people at the office building where he works. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Kaid started at the office building in 1986 as a security porter and worked his way up to his current position. As part of his job, he makes sure that the building passes all fire inspections, that safety drills are carried out and that floor captains are trained.

“I have to make sure that they have everything down so that we can exit in the safest way possible,” he said. “It’s a very cooperative atmosphere and everyone plays a part in making sure that this happens.

One of the things that he is most proud of is that in all the years that he’s been in charge, the building hasn’t received any violations.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the role of emergency action plan director was added to his title. In this capacity, Kaid ensures that the building and its 3,000 employees is prepared for new threats such as terrorist attacks and anthrax scares.

“Before the September 11 attacks, everyone was laidback, but all of that has changed,” he said.

He runs the residents through drills, passes out educational material and offers training to building employees.

The father of six and Brooklyn resident finds solace in his time at home, where he shoots baskets with his kids and works out at the gym.

He also said that his co-workers have become like a family to him.

“We have fun every day,” he said. “The porters all work together to make sure that the people of the building stay safe. There’s definitely a feeling that we are all in this together.”

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