Preparing for Emergency One Step at a Time

 

During the early morning hours I was abruptly woken up by the BLARING alarm system of the luxury hotel I was staying at. I immediately threw on some pants and grabbed the phone and called the front desk at the same time scooping my go-bag to head down the hall to the clients room.

The hotel front desk answered and the receptionist sheepishly responded (over the sound of the alarm) that it was a system test and should be over “soon.”  I was then able to confirm much the same with hotel security.

For the next 20 minutes the Public Announcement system played a variation of beeps, bongs and a voice that said, “please stand by while the incident is being investigated.  While I’m pretty convinced this was a system malfunction, not a “test,” it brought to mind emergency evacuation procedures in a high-rise building, particularly as we were located on the 28th floor. With that in mind, I took advantage of some downtime later in the day to do a dry run of one vital part of a high-rise evacuation: Don’t take the Elevator, use the stairs.

Rapidly descending 28 flights, is one thing but imagine doing it with a client in tow, plus the influx of hundred of others doing the same thing in a panic and the possibility of low lighting and smoke. This incident was another reminder that those of us in the Executive Protection field must, expect the unexpected, and beyond that, be prepared to deal with it, when it comes.

 

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2 thoughts on “Preparing for Emergency One Step at a Time”

  1. As an EP operator and instructor I like to share my opinion in this particular matter. As an EP Practitioner specially in the corporate arena you must know that if you travel with your principal it is sure that you will end the night in a hotel. As a part of your hotel advance I suggest that you walk 3 or 4 possible scenarios in case there is a emergency or fire evacuation during your stay. It is very important to have a resource to take care of that for you before your client arrival. Also remember that 99% of the world’s ladder trucks can’t reach above the 7th floor whereas MOST high rises are at-least 12 floors and above. So for that reason the best possible option is the 7th floor (this is where security and convenience become enemies) it might help if your hotel resource have a conversation with hotel front desk manager to ensure you will get in the right floor, spare keys, and bell services prior to checking in. Notice: Avoid lower floors due to street noise. Sounds unreal to place your principal on this floor but most hotels construction today are placing VIP Lounge, Upgraded and Presidential suites on this floors. Another great tip is to maintain a small fire bag that includes a written survival and evacuation plan, a fire blanket, flashlight, cutting knife and smoke mask right next to the principal’s bedroom just in case agents can’t get the client. Agent(s) room(s) should be adjacent to the principal’s room, if possible. During alarm activation jump in your shoes (you should sleep on t-shirt and shorts at least) grab your bag and phone go to you principal’s room (you must have a spare keys) carefully check the door knob and door temperature and quickly activate your previously rehearse evacuation plan and exit the hotel (Do not stop until you and Client are in a safe area). Once outside the danger zone, finally call Front desk and Security Dept.) to find out if the there is fire drill, false alarm, malfunction or a actual fire.

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