I coined this phrase.
My inspiration came from the fact that almost all employers have way too few employees trained to command and control an emergency. On top of this, Murphy’s Law ensures that key people like you will be off campus on other missions when the emergency strikes.
So, how many employees shall we appoint and then train? The federal government and the national standards say that your emergency team be in the 1:5 ratio related to the people you must supervise on your site to include employees, contractors and visitors.
“1:5!!! Are you crazy, Mitchell?” No,, but the national standard and all federal agencies say that 1:5 is the number that private-sector employers should appoint and train. Funny thing: If you analyze your own table of organization, guess how many supervisors you have in proportion to rank and file employees? 1:5! Test me.
Thus, my answer for your organization? Train every fifth employee as your emergency team. If you’re a campus or medical facility, train all your employees as the emergency team. You will need all of them responding because an emergency at your facility requires a robust number of employees to be successful in emergency response.
Back to the “Band.”
In 1991, the Oceanos cruise ship, carrying 571 passengers and crew, sank in the Indian Ocean off South Africa. The very first people to abandon ship in lifeboats were the captain, his senior officers and most of the crew. The Captain and crew never raised the alarm when they abondoned the passengers and their ship. At his trial for negligence, the captain said, “When I give the order to abandon ship, it doesn’t matter what time I leave. ‘Abandon’ is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay.”
He was found guilty.
It took seven hours for everyone else—including some with special needs—to get off the ship. The remaining lifeboats and 16 helicopters ferried all remaining passengers and crew to safety, without major injury.
Absent the Captain and crew, who was in command? The tour director! Her emergency team? The band that had been playing for passengers!
I have seen this episode used in depositions. The accusation will be that you too “abandoned” your employees by not having a big enough emergency team compliant with national standard and trained per OSHA regulations. So, “Train Everyone Including the Band” is my battle cry to any employer.
You have been the champion of emergency planning. I know you agree that delivering thoughtful, disciplined, comprehensive and smart emergency planning and training is our only standard to protect your people and the management’s posterior.
“Let’s be careful out there.”
PS: Google “Train Everyone Including the Band.” The first three to six returns will be about this issue and my coining of this phrase.