Editor's Note: You know the drill
In a nod to National Safety Month, all content in this month’s Safety Tips section is from the National Safety Council.
One of the topics is the importance of emergency drills. As an employee of NSC, I’ve headed for the exits during fire drills, stood in a first-floor hallway during tornado drills, dashed for the AED during first aid drills, crawled under my desk during earthquake drills and, most unnerving, barricaded myself in my office during an active shooter drill.
NSC urges everyone to take drills seriously to guard against complacency. I remember vividly one fire drill, years ago, that caught me off guard.
That day, when the alarm went off, I automatically moved toward the second-floor stairwell, calling to my co-workers as I went. I was the first person to reach the door and head downstairs. With two floors’ worth of people directly behind me, I reached the first floor and pushed open the stairwell door – only to be met by an employee playing the role of “fire,” saying, “This exit is blocked.” You can imagine the challenge for those of us at the front of the line trying – as the alarm blared – to get everyone to stop, turn around and go back upstairs to try another exit.
I volunteer on the council’s in-house emergency response committee, and one of the matters we’re discussing is increasing the variety of drills to continue to make them more challenging. As one of the committee leaders has pointed out, although we want drills to go well and people to feel confident in their ability to respond, anything that doesn’t go smoothly is an opportunity to learn and improve. And I know that’s something all safety and health professionals can relate to.
Happy National Safety Month.