As children, most of us went through the experience of fire-drills at school. They were often a special treat because it meant we got to be somewhere other than our classroom. If we were lucky, it gave us more time to cram for a test. However, as adults fire drills are seen as mostly a waste of time – halting productivity at The Office.
Because real emergencies are so rare, few people take fire drills seriously. The thing to remind everyone is that these drills are meant to practice what we should and should not do in the case of a real emergency. While practicing your fire drills, focus on these four goals: What, Where, How, and Who:
- Know what to do. Stay low under the smoke. Use stairs instead of elevators.
- Know where to go to be safe and so others know where you are.
- Know how to get out of harms way – identify both a main exit route and a backup.
- Know who is missing and who is safe.
Most people think that in the event of an emergency they will just naturally know what to do. But in situations where main routes are blocked, people can get disoriented and panic. According to Scott Owens of Blutinuity,“Studies show that large percentages of employees do not know the best route out of the building if their main route is blocked. Research also indicates that in less than 60 seconds, a fire can fill a room with enough smoke to make it disorienting and difficult to find exits.”
It is extremely important to practice using not only one emergency exit, but an alternative exit as well in case a main exit is blocked. The more educated everyone is, the more effective the fire drills will be and the better everyone will be prepared for an actual emergency.
As with most business processes, it is important to have systems in place to ensure your people are safe. Appoint a leader and a identify your specific plan of action. Each business will vary on the specifics, ranging from clipboards to electronic systems. Our XPressEntry Emergency Evacuation System is built on mobile devices to let you know who is safe and who is missing as quickly as possible for hundreds or thousands of employees in the event of an emergency. Please contact us if we can help you improve your process.
With the hot months of summer and fire season upon us, right now is a great time to sit down with your family or co-workers and discuss the procedures to take in case of a fire. Hopefully by the time Family Fire Drill Day comes on October 1st, we will already be well prepared!By David Carta, Telaeris CEO & Liz Womack, Telaeris Marketing Analyst