This true story taught me to never take anything for granted.  Every second counts during an evacuation and you should never waste time. You should never needlessly put yourself in peril. Employee Safety is the Ultimate Concern.

I was hosting a tabletop for a company in the mid-west and playing out a simulated fire scenario.

  1. Smell of smoke
  2. Alarms go off
  3. Orderly evacuation… you know the scenario.

So far so good. I patted myself on the back that we did a good job of awareness and training. These folks really ‘get it!’ Then an employee raises his hand and adamantly states, ‘well I must go back for my laptop as my recovery strategy is work-from-home and I must have my laptop or I will be in trouble with my management. ‘ OUCH! Whoa bucko! Say whatttt!!!

I explained in a very straightforward no-nonsense manner that even if it only takes a few seconds to go back – NEVER endanger yourself or others to retrieve a piece of equipment, car keys, pocketbook… We will get you a laptop to work on or you can recover to an alternate recovery site and use a desktop. Equipment can be replaced – lives cannot be replaced.

If you waste time during an evacuation you might not see the light of day again.

Square this away with employees asap. I learned to never take anything for granted.