Drills and Simulations are NOT a Waste of Time


Last year a blogger, the Time Ninja blog ran a post – 5 Reasons To Say No To The Fire Drill that I felt was irresponsible and ignored the emergency aspect and saving of lives.

The article asked the question – ‘what would happen if you chose to say no to the fire drill? Would the earth stop spinning?  Would you lose your job?’

I responded as follows:

Whilst this is a good article, it completely misses the point of a fire drill.

fire_01Fire Drills are not time wasters. They are a necessity. Fire kills. Large buildings including warehouses have burnt to the ground in less than 15 minutes.

The objective of such a drill is to save lives.

Not only is it a legal safety issue, it is crucial for any organization that wants to protect its reputation. I mean who wants to work or do business with an organization that killed employees and hopefully not, customers as well.

The whole idea with an emergency is to be prepared and to deal with the crisis situation in an orderly and organized manner.

This brings us to a problem situation. If you are an Emergency Manager, do you run an simulation unannounced or a simulation that has been communicated before the time. The one is real, the other contrived.

IMHO it is the best to do the second. People will comply, once they fully understand the reasons WHY, not just the How. I have taken managers with a dubious outlook to the burn unit at a local hospital. Once they visited there, their whole life experience changed.

Equip people to act positively. Build on rocks, not sand.

Ultimately, this goes deeper. To be an Admired Company today, to be a Best employer, deserves attention to detail others ignore. Ultimately it is about caring. A Company that does not prepare for all eventualities will communicate a message that it stakeholders are not important, and as research shows these days, people want to do business with companies they can trust – even from a safety perspective.

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