Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fire Drill

"Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves." ~Italian Proverb

This week the fire alarm went off at the office. The first thought was, oh, not another drill. Then I remembered, I don't work in NYC anymore where drills are mandatory twice a year. Here in Stamford, CT, the alarm has only gone off once before in two years while it was being tested.

So I decided to treat this alarm as real. (My first mistake, don't delay! Always treat alarms as real!) My next thought was, what will I take with me? I should have taken my entire work bag which includes a first aid kit but I thought that would look silly. (That was my second mistake, never worry about appearances during an emergency or drill). As it turns out many other employees took their purses or work bags with them.

After a pause for thinking, I took a hat for warmth (my coat is in the car outdoors) and my reading glasses, and followed the crowd down the stairs and out the building.

My third mistake was to stop with the crowd just a few feet outside the building door. Someone wiser had to remind us to move farther away so that the entrance would be clear for emergency personnel.

Fortunately this was a drill (or false alarm) and we were allowed back in the office after a few minutes.

Bottom Line

Don't underestimate the importance of drills. After you evacuate, imagine the office or house is a total loss to fire. What is gone that you wish you had saved? Everyone makes mistakes and a drill is the best time to learn and correct one's actions.

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