Evacuating During A Fire
In general, facility executives can feel confident that their facility's population will not get in the way of the first responders once they're on site, says John Welling, chairman of the National Fire Protection Association's 1620 committee on pre-incident planning, director of environmental health and safety with Bristol Myers Squibb, and a municipal fire chief in New Jersey.
"What people aren't good at is realizing how devastating a fire can be," he says. Fire doubles every 30 seconds. Despite this danger, when facility occupants participate in a drill, they can have too much of relaxed attitude. The habits people form can also work as blinders in an emergency.
"People are like ants," Welling says. "They use the same stairwell, the same door every day. You block that door and they don't know what to do."
Impressing the seriousness and importance of drills on a facility's population, and not just in the wake of larger national tragedies, will help ensure a facility is truly prepared for an emergency.