According to local news reports the Phoenix (USA) Fire Department is holding "the world's largest fire drill".
According to the local press, yesterday, today and tomorrow the Phoenix Fire Department will evacuate more than 40,000 people in 60 downtown buildings, to simulate a high-rise fire. Yesterday, "about 50 firefighters rushed into Collier Center as if it were a real first-alarm fire...After clearing the thousands of occupants from the building, firefighters first had to determine where the fire was and how they would get to it. Just as they would do in a real fire, firefighters rushed up the staircases with heavy packs. " Apparently "workers have a tendency to ignore smoke", so this drill was to show them not to
It does make me wonder what the legal implications are. Can you oblige people to take part in an exercise at some personal inconvenience? What about alarm, distress, etc., caused to individuals? However worthy the cause, there may be times when the remedy is worse than the disease?
In addition, worker who tend to ignore smoke now have a new excuse. Oh, it will just be another exercise...
Some similar exercises in the UK involving mass street and tube train closures (eg in 2003) have been announced in advance and held on Sundays, though not all (eg this one in Newcastle.)