You’ve heard it before, “In case of an emergency walk don’t run to the nearest exit.” Study after study indicate that this is hardly the problem in times of trouble. People just don’t want to leave when the alarm sounds. As a fire service professional I have witnessed on numerous occasions people failing to leave the building and the staff of the facility are not engaged in the process of evacuation. The recent cruise ship disasters show that staff are nowhere to be found when emergencies occur and people become trapped.
This is in large part due to the lack of awareness among building owners and operators that people must be trained and reminded to get out safely. The motion picture industry and large entertainment arenas and the airlines have improved their ability to get the word to their patrons on how to evacuate the facility in case of an emergency. Large department stores, hotels, malls, gyms and similar structures have paid little attention to educating their patrons and employees on how to get out when the warning alarm sounds.
Training employees to take charge and move people along safely can help avoid tragedies in your facilities. The tragic events of 911 revealed just how little people know about evacuation and yet during that tragedy there were shining examples of how planning and preparedness can make a difference.
Don’t let your facility become the next big story. Train your employees on the process of evacuation and assist them to help your customers and clients get safely to their next destination.