THE MAGAZINE

Chicago’s Big Security Shoulders

By Teresa Anderson

The various drills help reinforce the museum’s evacuation plan and procedures. Floor wardens, who have been chosen and trained in advance, are responsible for evacuating staff and visitors, while security verifies that everyone has been evacuated. “There are more than 45 ways of egressing this building,” says McDonald. “We want to make sure that everyone knows the quickest way to get out.”

The floor wardens also help the disabled, using the emergency chair lifts in each of the stairwells. Floor wardens ensure that students exit the museum and gather near the bus area, where they can be rejoined with their group. In early June, security added a wrinkle by moving the buses out of the area and then evacuating the building. Even with that complication, the exercise still went smoothly. The students easily found their group. “During the drill, we had 1,600 people in the building. We evacuated the building in less than seven minutes,” says McDonald. “You can only get there if you practice.”

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