Russell's Rules. Number One

Every once in a while I’m reminded of things I already know, things I regularly say and things I regularly do, all without being acutely conscious about knowing, saying or doing it. I was recently reminded of such by my wife who informed me the other day that I have some set rules that I regularly espouse when dealing with emergency related situations.

My wife made the observation after I had cause to tell her about a recent training exercise that I had conducted for a large facility in Melbourne. Trying to organise a suitable date to conduct the exercise had been a long winded affair. So too, had facilitating a suitable time of day. There were several parties that occupied this facility and in all fairness, we were trying to find a time that caused as little inconvenience as possible. I understand that businesses will suffer downtime partaking of the exercise and as I have mentioned many times before it is part of a business complying with various state and/or federal legislation as well as complying with the Australian Standard. In addition, its one hour (usually less) per year of downtime to gain this compliance and one hour per year to practice something that may very well save lives. It’s a small investment with big rewards.

The exercise was controlled from an Emergency Warning and Intercommunication System (EWIS) in the ground floor foyer. The facility’s Chief Warden and I made PA announcements prior to the exercise and initiated the exercise at the agreed time.

As building occupants evacuated, many filed past both the Chief Warden and I and as they did so, we were privy to the regular grumblings of how stupid this was, and how people had better things to do and what was to be gained from making them walk down stairs; I’m sure you get the picture.

Russell's Rules. Rule number one - Emergencies are NEVER convenient and NEVER happen when you’re ready – deal with it!

Russell's Rules. Rule number one - Emergencies are NEVER convenient and NEVER happen when you’re ready – deal with it!

However, I was confronted by a very irate General Manager from one of the tenancies who saw fit, mid exercise to attempt to register his dissatisfaction at the timing of the exercise. His tirade did include all manner of expletives and he was turning red in the face as he vented his frustration.

Which leads me back to the start of this article, where there was something I knew and something I said to this manager and it’s now titled Russell’s rule number one; Emergencies are NEVER convenient and NEVER happen when you’re ready – deal with it!