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.