Fire drills

On my way to work today, noticed that the office buildings down the road had a fire drill going on. Everyone was in the parking lot listening to the fire warden, and as is expected, most didn't seem to want to be there. Well, nobody likes fire drills; but then you got to admit that this is one of the necessary evils in life.

Most seem indifferent to these drills, some are just exasperated and then there are others, who try to appear 'interested', but in reality, just want it to end and get back to work. I remember some colleagues in Bangalore, who would pick a fire drill as the perfect opportunity to stroll across the floor to the pantry, make themselves a hot cup of coffee and then leisurely walk down to the assembly area. So much for the emergency drill !

And then there was this building where they would send out 'emergency fire drill' notices two days in advance, so that everyone can plan their meetings accordingly. Well, what is the point of assessing your emergency readiness by 'planning' it for two days?

If you'd ask me, the best way to assess your emergency readiness is to actually simulate the emergency. Simply set off the fire alarms with no prior notice and scream yourself hoarse on the public address system that the building is on fire. Maybe, even set off a dummy sprinkler someplace. And while you are at it, how about planting a couple of 'panic' wardens on every floor alongwith the fire wardens? In a real emergency, there will always be a couple of people who will simply lose their cool and scare everyone else. Why not simulate that too and see how people react? Someone running onto the floor with his hand on fire and screaming 'Run, run...run for your lives' is definitely going to have a much more serious impact than someone drolling 'We are having a fire drill, please proceed to the assembly area as if it is an emergency'. Such a drill would definitely give you a better idea of your emergency readiness.

And am sure no one would want to pick that cup of coffee too, would anyone? :)

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