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What’s Your Plan?

September 25, 2007

It must be that time of year. Both my company and my husband’s company have done training on the Emergency Response Program within the last week. If you work in Corporate America, odds are you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about here. We all get together, in a hot, airless room, and review the finer points of what to do should an emergency occur during working hours. I am a planner, and I like to be as prepared as the next guy (or gal), but it seems like these little programs get sillier with each passing year.

My review included such nuggets of wisdom as “How to Handle a Bomb Threat Phone Call” and “What to do in Case of Tornado.”

I liked the bomb threat discussion most. The very attractive PowerPoint Presentation advised us to keep the caller on the phone by asking questions like:

Where is the bomb?

What activates the bomb?

How big is the bomb?

How powerful is the bomb?

Are you really that mean that you would want to hurt people? (No, really. It was on the slide.)

One of my co-workers questioned the wisdom of antagonizing the would-be/could-be bomber with questions about his/her level of meanness. Seriously. And like I would want to stay on the phone with someone phoning in the bomb threat (and wait for it to blow up, or what?) rather than getting off the phone with the aforementioned looney-tune and call the police?

It got better in the tornado section when we debated the best place to go inside the building. Yeah, the basement would be divine–but we don’t have one. Doesn’t everyone already know that you’re supposed to go to the lowest point, center of the building, away from the windows? Do we really have to argue about it? And someone mentioned dialing 9-1-1. That sent several in the room into another flurry of chatter, over whether one would actually have to dial 9 first, like 9-9-1-1, or whether just plain 9-1-1 would work. Thank the Good Lord our Voice and Video expert was present and could advise us that either would work. In fact, either would work, AND it would alert the 9-1-1 folks as to our exact location. Isn’t that inherent to the 9-1-1 system unless you’re using Vonage or something?

My husband’s company upped the ante in their manual by reminding everyone of the following:

“It is dangerous to climb an erupting volcano.” (Because we have so many of those in our area… And if someone is dumb enough to climb an erupting volcano, doesn’t that just fall into the whole Survival of the Fittest thing?)

“A blizzard is when strong winds combine with falling snow to reduce visibility.” (Wow. I’m glad someone shared that with me. Because the news clips of every blizzard in North America–and the fact that we live in a state where blizzards happen just about annually–wouldn’t have been enough to assure that I actually knew what one WAS…)

“If you find a suspicious package, you should NOT smell or taste it.” (Because that would have been my FIRST inclination.)

I think the best plan is just to have everyone sign off on a piece paper saying that they will a) use common sense in a case like this, or b) run screaming from the building and perish if there’s something really bad out there, or c) take home the whole freakin’ manual and memorize every little section because they’re not smart enough to know what to do already. I never cease to be amazed at the actual information Corporate America has to provide to its employees. The sad thing is that someone, somewhere created the need for briefings like these..

At least I get paid hourly…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2007 12:20 pm

    Have you ever watched “The Office” on TV? Somehow it is usually harder to see how hilarious all that corporate stuff and our co-workers are when we’re standing beside them and not watching them on TV, but they are there – right beside us, funnier than any fictional bunch.

    You get paid hourly AND someday you can write your own sitcom about it!

  2. tulips4me permalink
    September 25, 2007 12:29 pm

    First of all, I just noticed that the female at the top of your blog, that is supposed to represent you, has straight hair…what is that about?

    Second, I am unsure if you lived in our fair city when a tornado went right through downtown following a major street. The people in the high rise office buildings stood at the windows and watched. This is a nightmare for someone in my industry. If you are ever in a high rise office building and there is a tornado, the safest place is in the stairwell, not gawking out the window.

    When I managed commercial properties, I spent a lot of time writing and reviewing safety and emergency handbooks, and yes there are people out there who have done things to cause manufacturers to place a tag on hair dryers warning us to not use them in the bath tub! These are the same people who stand at the window watching a tornado go by!

    I wish I could be hourly!

  3. Lynda permalink
    September 25, 2007 12:39 pm

    Oh my!! I think it’s too funny that it is even necessary to have these kinds of time wasting, brain draining meetings. Unfortunately it probably is necessary.

    Anyway, for fun I thought I’d pass along this warning sign generator!

    http://www.warningsigngenerator.com/

    You can make your own warning signs i.e.”Warning, I have PMS and a gun!”

    It’s fun to see what you can come up with.

    Enjoy!

  4. September 26, 2007 6:04 am

    Sadly, I have not gotten the chance to work with Corporate America yet, but I have lived on military installations many times. Everywhere you go here, there is a “bomb threat manual” next to every phone. Even one at the each of the two public phones in our BX. Board while waiting on the kids to use the restroom, I looked it over once. The rules and questions in those are just mind blowing. First I find it funny that it states to keep the person talking to get information because I swear just about every phone in both military offices/shops/etc and probably even our homes are wired/tapped in some form.

    At the beginning of every season, no matter the season, military personal walk up and down every street of the housing areas to hand out “Emergency Plans” These plans, if you sit and read them, will do nothing more then scare the crap out of the person reading it. I actually did once, never again. Be thankful in a way you only have to go through it once a year. I have a wonderful stack of papers from just this year and the year isn’t over yet… I still have the fall floods plans, the winter weather plans, ice damage plans, and a few more to receive.

  5. September 26, 2007 10:55 am

    I thought in a tornado I was suppose to run outside screaming “Auntie Em! Auntie Em!” so that I could get transported to some technicolor fairy-tale land. I am glad I know better now.

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