You Can’t Work If You’re Dead: Tips For Getting Out Of A Crowd Safely
3:30 pm, January 28th | by Sarah Devlin
We’ve all been there: the fire alarm at the office goes off, and everyone looks around at everyone else for an explanation. Often building alarms will get ignored, especially if there’s no obvious sign of impending disaster. As we saw in the tragic case of the nightclub fire in Brazil over the weekend, ignoring an alarm can be the difference between making it out of a crisis unscathed and becoming seriously hurt.
Since one of us at The Jane Dough may or may not have received an email with crowd safety tips from her dad titled “She who hesitates is dead” this morning, we decided that revisiting some important crowd safety tips might be a good idea. Even if you aren’t the most senior person in your office, you can take these to heart and use them to guide your colleagues in the event of a building alarm. If, heaven forbid, disaster actually does strike, you’ll be glad you had a plan.
From CBS News:
If a fire broke out in your office, would you know what to do?
Everyone who works in one should have a plan, stresses The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen.
Experts say you’d have only minutes to escape, perhaps as few as two. And, warns Koeppen, that’s often easier said than done.
…”There’s a lot of apathy to responding immediately to a fire alarm signal,” Fannin agreed. “I think very few, if any, office workers have a plan.”
• If a building alarm goes off, you need to stop what you are doing and get out. Don’t worry about being able to get back in or the weather, the experts said.
• Tell everyone in your group which way to go, and remember, most people are going to head for the front door. The danger is that someone will fall and people will tumble over each other. “Then that’s it,” Corbett said. “That’s the point of knowing the other ways out.” Even if people are still moving it’s likely that because of the mass of people, it will take more time to get out the main entrance.
And from The New Yorker’s excellent 2011 piece on making large crowds safe:
Paul Wertheimer has written a booklet, “You and the Festival Crowd,” which has been widely distributed. (Among his recommendations: Keep your elbows akimbo, to protect your chest and give yourself enough breathing room. Don’t fight against the flow of the crowd if you’re trying to get out of it; rather, go with it, and during lulls try to work your way diagonally through the crowd to the perimeter. If you feel faint, grab on to someone, and, if you do fall, try to protect your head.
[Photo via Shutterstock]