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Evacuate!

I write this as the emergency services are taking the unenviable task of evacuating over 6000 people from the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire after damage to a dam wall was discovered following a week of torrential rain. Some are criticising this decision - moving people out for what could be days or weeks without knowing if the dam will breach or not. There would be more criticism if they did nothing and thousands perished, so well done to them. The problem they have is they can’t do right from wrong with it. If the emergency ends with no loss of life all will return to normal until next time. That is when they will have difficulty. People will refuse to leave: the mindset of “Last time nothing happened and the same will happen again.” And that is dangerous. Human nature can be bad for your safety. And the same can happen in your business. I once worked for a large organisation that shall remain nameless. They started getting false alarms on their fire alarm system, caused by another tenant in the same building who had a steam room that set alarms off. Evacuating almost weekly for several weeks led to fire wardens finding it increasingly difficult to get the employees to leave. “Oh it’s the steam again.” If you are asked to evacuate, no matter how frequently, whether by alarm or police or something else DO SO. Your very survival may depend on it. You are being asked to evacuate for a reason- a reason that may be unknown to you. Never assume it is another false alarm. It may be real.

Good luck to the people and emergency services in Derbyshire.

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