Communication: Give Advance Warning

We were at a kids museum this morning and the fire alarm went off. This wasn’t any normal fire alarm either… the siren was going off, lights were flashing and a voice was talking. It kept saying, “Please leave the building. This is an emergency. Please do not re-enter the building unless allowed to do so by a qualified professional.” That was pretty unnerving. Parents and kids started making their way to the exits. About 5 minutes into the alarm, one of the workers got on the loud speaker and told us all that it was just a drill and to stay inside. What made things worse was this alarm went on like this for nearly 45 more minutes!

If they have to have a fire drill with several hundred kids in a space like that at least give advance warning and make it brief. Communicate. Don’t leave people confused. Don’t put people in a panic. Like the parking signs in the last post, it communicates all the wrong things. If I am ever there and a real fire breaks out I won’t be certain whether I should be running or playing! There is a lesson in here for churches. Make sure you let people know what is coming, especially if the change is big. When you do, don’t be confusing. Be simple and direct. It will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. What is more, people will trust you.

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