You are a creature of habit. Everyone is, to one extent or another.
Every day you go to work using the same path, the same door, the same route. And, yet, in case of an emergency, when that route is blocked by fire or another hazard, can you quickly find another way out?
The goal of a fire drill is to make sure you know exactly where (and when) to exit a building in case of an emergency. Yes, we know there are those who dodge the drill. But don’t let that be you.
The threat is real. In 2020 alone, there were 111,000 fires in non-residential structures, resulting in 100 civilian deaths.
Experience counts. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, people who participate in drills and receive emergency training react faster, with better decision making than those without training. Those who have been in emergency situations before also react faster.
The fire drill not only gives people experience, but it also helps people to take action even when they can’t see the problem.
Seeing the threat is one reason people move to safety. When people hear a fire alarm, they nearly always try to find out if there is visible smoke or fire. If they don’t see any, they might not quickly evacuate. The problem, of course, is that fire and smoke don’t have to be in your immediate area for you to be in grave danger. At the sound of a fire alarm, everyone must evacuate as quickly as possible.
Acting confidently makes a difference. If you hear the alarm, stand up and move out in a calm, orderly fashion. Simple as that. Acting immediately and with confidence tends to prevent panic in others, according to the NFPA. People tend to share the experience of others. If one person is confused and panicky, that can spread to others.