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Friday, June 4, 2010

My first fire drill at work

After almost 10 months of working at the same building, we finally had a fire drill this morning. Of course they chose the beginning of June which in Texas means virtually always triple-digit heat. Anyway, here are three observations I made during the event:


1. My goodness, people are out of shape. The amount of bitching and moaning I heard about walking down [God forbid] a few flights of stairs was absolutely mind-boggling. When the drill was over, I can’t tell you how congested the elevators were to get back up to the 5th and 6th floors. And I’m annoyed to report that 60% (maybe 64%) of the congestion came from folks riding the elevator from the Floor 1, to Floor 2. Come on.


2. There’s a general sense of ‘expected dismissal’ when a fire drill occurs. Here’s what I mean. In elementary, middle and high school there was this notion – this artificial expectation – that everyone was supposed to be allowed to go home once the building had been evacuated. “OK, they’ve forced us out of the building, now we shouldn’t have to have class anymore. They’ve pretended that we’re all about to burn to death – that’s subject for mental duress and deserves a free ticket out of here!” A decade later, for some of us scores, not much has changed. I heard at least a half-dozen comments of ‘OK, time go home!’ or ‘This means we’re done for the day, right?’.


3. Walk, don’t run, to the nearest exit. Yea, OK. Nice simulation, guys. The place has become a scorching inferno, people are screaming and flames are raging, meanwhile we’re casually grabbing our lap tops, coffee and bags before leisurely strolling to an exit. Are you kidding me? In a legitimate crisis, I’d revert to natural human instincts and Marion Barber my ass out of a crowd. I’d take the closest chair, bash out a window and jump.

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