Emergency drill or an extra break during my workday?

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Experience tells me that the emergency drills conducted in some companies do not acquire the importance or seriousness they should.

A drill is no more than staging a real life situation. If a theatre company does not take their rehearsals seriously, of course there will be mistakes on opening day. In this case, the situation would result in a moment of embarrassment for the actor in front of the audience due to forgetting the text, but this bad episode will pass in a few days.

It is another matter when we speak of an emergency drill: it is a rehearsal for a work in which   our life is at stake.

imagesTherefore, one of the most common systematic errors in the simulations lies in the view of some workers of this procedure as a game or sympathetic abnormality in the workday.

Another important error or deficiency in its planning: we tend to design a situation in which there is an easy and direct answer. For example, a breakdown that occurs in a machine. Can you control the fire? Yes: end of problem. No: sound the alarm and proceed to evacuate the premises. Given a simple situation like this, maybe the drill was a success in terms of its development, but not in terms of its rationale: evaluate the ability to react to a complex and often critical situation.

Hence, the need to provide a spark of quality or a differential point. If an emergency situation is going to result in unanticipated events, how much more so should a drill! There are so many ways as the imagination of the technician suggests: hide the drill to some of the present group, a fake fire blocking the main entrance of the building, hiding one or two workers to measure the responsiveness of evacuation equipment, conduct drills at different times to check to what extent the volume of clients slow down the process, simulate fainting … etc.

Fire protection equipment must be periodically reviewed

Fire protection equipment must be periodically reviewed

Obviously, a simulation will never reach the level of reality and improvisation required concerning a fire, earthquake or actual explosion. Hence, the importance of an OHS technician’s contribution in   surprise elements and   a degree of uncertainty   to develop response skills in the workers involved.

At Prevencontrol, we would also like to remind you of the availability of civil protection services, police, fire, ambulance, emergency equipment … for carry out drills. We may need them during a real emergency and we need to verify if we know how to contact them, what information to provide on arrival … etc… This also represents a “fire” drill for them, which involves checking   the degree of coordination between all teams involved   in a given emergency.

Finally, we leave you with this video of “The Simpsons”, where an acidic critique of some of the most common faults that occur in the simulations in this case fire is given. Enjoy it and then comment on it!


1)   No planning for drills: this cannot answer the randomness nor the mere formality of fulfilling a legal obligation. A good drill requires considerable prior work and dedication.

2)   Failure to recognize the acoustic warning alarm: If you tend to not activate the alarm in the simulations, there may be workers who do not know or recognize it after a while, but we must act fast!

3) Lenny and his coffee: without comments.

4) A bold person who ends up misusing an extinguisher: we recommend not taking it if you have not been trained to use it. Needless to say that the more people trained, whether part of the first responders team or not, the better.

5) Hanging about picking up personal items: take only the basics and what we have at hand. Still it is best not pick up anything: we might need our hands free of baggage. Forget about picking things up from the locker …

6) Mass hysteria: No running! We could have an accident while leaving our job post. Try not to panic no matter how critical the situation. Keeping a clear head could save your life.

7) Working as a team: Even without being on the evacuation team, it is worth taking a quick look at some of the work areas around us: there could be someone who needs our help.


PrevenControl es la firma especializada en seguridad y salud laboral que propone soluciones eficaces e innovadoras para la mejora del negocio y la reputación de sus clientes a través de la consultoría, el uso de la tecnología y la formación.

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