Unique fire drill procedure

I felt like I had to chime in here on this: my workplace has fire drill procedures that I have never seen in use anywhere else:

  • The zone Emergency Response Wardens (red cubicle nameplates, orange vests, red bags, etc.) are not told when fire drills occur, so they are to treat every alarm like it’s real.

  • The nearest outside door to my cubicle is an emergency-only exit that sends a silent alarm, notifying the on-duty security guard and building supervisor. If I used this exit in a non-emergency, I’d probably be fired, if not slapped around heavily by our HR office.

Fire drill procedure? To use the emergency-only exit, then return through an employee entrance door.

I’ve never seen it done this way before. I’ve always seen evacuation instructions to use the nearest standard exit, with emergency exits only being secondary for when the primary exit is blocked. Kind of like how, just because your apartment has egress windows, you’re not expected to use them in a fire drill.

For fire drills/false alarms my dorm uses the emergency exits because there are only two standard entrances/exits and they are on one side of the building making it impractical for evacuating 400 students.

Think about it this way as well. As you are walking out emergency personnel may be arriving leading to a clogged entry way. Main entryways are usually the “command” location for the incident since that is almost always where elevators and control panels are keeping people away from where the FD will most likely enter the building is good policy.

They might also want you to get used to secondary exits. I’m sure most people know where the front door is…but do they know where the emergency exits are? Now of course you or I might know as we might look for those types of things. But someone else may not. Also, some exits can lead to fire escapes or alleyways. The building owner wants you to be accustomed to these “abnormalities” so if a real emergency occurs, you are not surprised by them or get lost or confused. Seems totally legit to me!