Business leaders and owners take great steps to hire the best and the brightest people and their performance they hope will be matched by few in rival companies. One thing that is often forgotten is that managing emergencies is a behavior that is learned not an innate talent. Consider a large Department store like Sears, Wal-Mart or a large mall. If an emergency occurred where there needs to be an immediate evacuation, how confident are you that 1) your employees would know how to get everyone out or 2) you would know how to get out if your first choice in exit is not available? One scenario that will put a your knowledge of how to get out in a hurry is the active shooter. There have been many stories about employees becoming trapped in stores and customers trapped in stores because they do not know where the nearest exits are besides the main entrance/exits.
As the owner or operator what steps have you taken to make sure your exits are clearly visible and route to get to those exits are clear and easy. Most stores have shelves so high you can’t see any other area of the store from that point. Some have aisles that lead to other aisles and not a main aisle that leads to remote exits. All stores have remote exits but can one find them in a true emergency like an active shooter incident? If getting out is a priority why do we feel like we are in a maze? As an Inspector for many years I know business owners are concerned about cost, and that is important, but they also don’t think about the simple things that do not have a large cost like illuminating the exit pathway or placing signs that explain which way one needs to go to get to the exit. Sure the exit signs are there and you can see them in the distance but there is a maze to get to it. Line of sight of an exit sign is not always enough.
The active shooter scenario lets us know our world has changed and we need to change our evacuation plans to meet the needs of the day, assuming you have an evacuation plan. If you don’t have an evacuation plan then you now have one good reason to increase your organization’s learning in the area of managing emergencies. One of the first lessons is how to get out of the threatening environment. I am sure you have seen movies when the shooter is stalking employees and people are trapped in their workspace. Most exits are no more than 200 feet away from any point in a room but the exit is almost invisible to us because we don’t know it’s there.
There are many other areas where we can increase our survival if we just increase our knowledge about disasters and emergencies and how to survive them.
This blog and Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants are dedicated to educating business owners and employees on the need to manage emergencies everyday through effective mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery actions. Accidents can be reduced, eliminated and their effects can be lessened if a good strategy is adopted.
If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees checkout my website http://www.ejones224.moonfruit.com/ (Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants) and contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.