Do you ever feel like you’re in an episode of The Simpsons when it comes to conducting drills at your place of business or school?
People just don’t seem to take these things seriously – people hiding in the bathroom during a fire drill, administration singing off that a drill has been done when it hasn’t, or a drill being conducted at 3am on a Sunday when no one is in the building or on campus. There are too many ways to disregard the serious nature of emergency drills.
The fact is, though, that DRILLS SAVE LIVES. It is well documented that in times of severe stress your body goes in to auditory exclusion (your hearing worsens severely), you get tunnel vision (you lose vision on the periphery), you lose fine motor skills, and your thought process declines. By drilling and practicing what to do in the event of an emergency – whether its fire, tornado, active shooter, etc. – you are training your body and mind to perform the correct tasks when the time comes.
Imagine you’re an elementary school teacher. You’ve taught in the same classroom for years. You’ve looked at the same fire evacuation plan on the back of your classroom door for years but never actually walked the path and practiced an evacuation. An actual fire occurs and all of a sudden your body goes into panic mode – you get auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, and decreased motor skills; now you literally can not follow the directions on the fire evacuation plan. Your students are looking at you to lead them, and you are frozen in panic, quite literally unable to think clearly. This is where drill save lives – if this teacher had practiced evacuating the classroom multiple times, over and over, month after month, year after year, her muscle memory would have allowed her to lead the children on the correct path to safety (even with auditory exclusion and tunnel vision).
Please, take emergency drills seriously. They are not a waste of time; they are not planned as a way to make your day more difficult; they are not irrelevant. Practicing what you would do in an emergency could save your life.
With that said, let’s end this very serious issue on a lighter note: