This past Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers in NYC and the Pentagon in Washington. I published this post in 2008 because I had been telling clients and students that one of the best ways to commemorate that day was to find a way to save lives. That sentiment was prompted by a radio report I had listened to. I thought on this anniversary I would republish that post. I still use this advice today.
I am certain there are many blog posts today remembering the attacks on September 11, 2001. I think this one might have a different twist. In the days and weeks that followed that terrible day I listened to story after story of the personal stories of pain, uncertainty, terrible certainty, and heroism that followed.
One story really hit me and every year around this time it comes to mind. It was the story of one office in one of the towers. The company in that office made it a regular habit to practice fire drills. They had just practiced one the previous week. As a result of that experience, when the planes hit and the alarms went off, this group of people calmly got everyone in their office out of the building. Additionally, they were able to assist two or three disabled individuals out of the building as well. I remember the president of the company saying he was glad they had done the practice and he was grateful he did not have to call any families to tell them a family member had died.
This was a very powerful story to me. I am sorry I do not remember the name of the company. But I do think of it every September 11th. I have Incorporated this into my HR classes that I teach. I tell my students that I think one of the best ways they can remember that day is to make it SAFETY DAY.
So I give that same advice to you. On this day practice a fire drill. Make sure all your fire extinguishers are in working order. Make sure everyone knows where to meet after they evacuate the building. If you have a large facility have the fire department out to tour the building so they know it and have a plan for it. Commemorate this day by making your workplace safer.
You will be grateful that you do not have to call a family and tell them their love one had died in a disaster at your place of work.