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Fire drill proves employees know what to do

From the moment Mark Donahue, general manager, pulled the fire alarm, it took less than two minutes to empty the large showroom, service and parts areas and offices of people and get them outside and away from the immediate vicinity of the Fred Beans Chevrolet dealership on North Easton Road in Doylestown.

Plumsteadville Fire Company’s chief, Brian DuBree, was pleased by the orderly response to the surprise drill, conducted at 10:45am Monday, May 17. The 40 employees and about 10 customers calmly made their way outside via the exits designated for the service and parts departments and the sales showroom. It was the first drill in several years, and both DuBree and Donahue hope to repeat the exercise in a few months.

“It should be conducted twice a year, and more often is better,” said DuBree, who also wants other businesses along the corridor—including the other Fred Beans stores—to get into the habit of running practice drills regularly.

Donahue had told his staff that he was going to hold a drill sometime “very soon,” he said, and discussed what exits each department should use, where they should go to wait, and the importance of taking a head count. The employees working with any customers in the store at the time of the alarm were to usher them to the exits and take them outside to the designated location.

“It worked just the way it was supposed to,” says Donahue, who has been working for the Fred Beans automotive organization for nearly 35 years.