The Evacuees' Paradigm

I was called to one of my client's facilities today for an urgent after-action meeting. This facility is a major shopping precinct adjoining some other substantial facilities and, during the weekend, had suffered an activation of the fire alarm system. Like most other shopping centres and precincts, weekends usually entail a reduced staffing level as far as Centre Management personnel are concerned. Therefore, any major emergency, or in this case, even a simple emergency can present its challenges. My client today, after our discussions had performed admirably as far as managing the situation until the arrival of the emergency services.

Not according to one evacuee who saw fit to lodge an email complaint regarding the shortcomings from her perspective. She had evacuated to the car park and felt that others had not evacuated quick enough. This Centre had approximately 8000 occupants at the time of the alarm.


The Fire Brigade did not seem to be handling the situation. - Somehow, Centre Management's fault.

No one would or could tell her what was going on? - Again, Centre Management's shortcoming.

"It didn't look like anyone was doing anything." - Her observation that Centre Management staff, who were inside the Centre liaising with the Fire Brigade, were not visible doing their job!

So; not all emergencies are visually spectacular and not all tasks during an emergency can be seen or are feats of strength and endurance. Some emergency management is just plain dull. Accept it. You're alive to complain. Be thankful.