The good news is, there's no fire...
...the bad news is...
Bit of a funny one this. There's a department store called Robbs in Hexham, a little market town in the north of England. Times have been hard - no surprise, retail's a tough sector and let's face it, all the money's down south - and it's gone out of business; parent company's in administration, the lot. The store's going to have to close, which means redundancies. It's a sorry tale, but not an unusual one.
So, you're the manager with the tough job of telling 140-odd staff they've lost their job. You could do with gathering them all together...but that means getting all of the customers out of the shop. A brainwave! Set off the fire alarm. Customers clear off - in a mild state of panic, but who's worried about them any more? - and you've got all the staff standing in the car park (probably in light, cold drizzle) where you can give them the news.
"Fire alarm..? Yes...somewhat ironic really, given what I need to tell you..."
Predictably, the local MP and press is up in arms at the "brutal" treatment of the staff. So, as a small shop in a tiny northern town, what would you do?
You'd call in massive global PR company Hill & Knowlton's crisis management team, that's what.