Emergency Drills at Work

"Make it quick, we're on the clock" GIF

Unless you’re at the high or low end of the luck spectrum, you probably spend 40 hours a week at your job. If disaster strikes, there’s a good chance you’ll be at the office. It’s important to create plans and run drills at work so you’re prepared for an emergency no matter where you are.

If your company is large enough to have dedicated emergency staff, check with them to learn more about the types of drills that are already in place. If you’re not sure who is in charge of emergencies, it’s probably HR. Your HR rep can give you the company’s policies on emergencies and drills, and may even welcome your help if you have suggestions, would like to develop a more comprehensive plan, or would like to have more frequent drills.

Rule of Thumb

If you can’t find anyone who claims to be in charge of emergencies, consider yourself in charge.

To run drills at work, you need to develop a plan. Set evacuation routes, discuss the details with your co-workers, and find out if you need permission from anyone (like your building’s super) to run drills. Get everyone on the same page and practice leaving the building in a calm, orderly manner. Like your drills at home, make some unannounced, and add some unexpected elements like locked doors or obstacles in hallways.

If you’re not in charge of emergency preparedness at work, you should still have a personal emergency plan. At the very least, know where to find the emergency exits, fire extinguishers, fire axes, eyewash stations, or anything else your office has made available to use in an emergency. Always have a few evacuation routes in mind and maintain a list of emergency contacts. If you don’t want to be judged for running around the office practicing drills alone, practice them in your head. As long as you know what to do when an emergency strikes, hands-on practice or not, you’ll be in a much better position to survive.

Whenever you’re away from your home, keep your “get home plan” in mind. You probably think about that plan every day around 5:00 anyway, but spend some time thinking about it in an emergency context. Once a month, try a different route when you leave work, so you’ll know how to get home if roads are blocked during an emergency.

You’re a pro! You’re ready for drills at home and at work, but we’ve got more tips for drilling with kids and pets.

Cars on a busy freeway
If you use public transit like a responsible citizen, I guess just use that time to think about which of your fellow train-riders you’d team up with in an emergency.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Professional worrier. Mom, entrepreneur. Lifetime student of brain science. Passionate about surviving what's coming (climate change, wtf) and staying as sane as possible. Determined to make the best of the end of the world.