Blast! It's another fire drill

And we have to go all of the way to the ground floor this time. 17 flights of stairs…

At least it’s not cold outside today.

I know! Four years of high school, and we had false alarms every time you turned around. Then the gym caught fire on the third to last day of school. Kinda appreciated the fire alarms after that one.

Seriously, I do appreciate the level of suck involved in false alarms. I had one today at work, which meant I had to take twenty pre-teens outside and then keep track as they run around listening for sirens. I now have a heck of a lot more respect for elementary school teachers, just from that.

I used to love those - grab a snack before you left, chat with the co-workers across the rarely saw from across the floor, guess how many seconds it would be until the firetruck arrived this time (we were just down the block)…

Even better was that you could come down the stairs, but couldn’t go up them, meaning that getting everyone back up the elevators was a 1/2 hour process. If it happened at the right time - extra long lunch hour! :smiley: No you first - I insist. I’ll be quite happy to catch the last one. I mean next one.

It wasn’t too bad this time. We didn’t have to wait around downstairs for very long. There was the usual scrum of people all trying to get back upstairs in the lifts, but we avoided the crowd by taking an express lift up to a higher floor and then coming back down a few flights of stairs.

Weird. You do a full evac of a 17+ story building for a fire drill?

Around here, the norm in tall buildings (The cutoff for this is 10 floors or so) for evac drills is to go down four floors and mill around in some other company’s space, nicking whatever unwatched goodies you can. “Hey, nice stapler!” If you can find their break-room, the coffee is fair game as well. “Fire drill! Bring a mug and hope Arlington and Libby still has the espresso maker!”

Yep. Having worked in the World Trade Center makes you appreciate fire drills, too. :eek:

I’ve responded in the Pit.

Makes me glad there are no buildings on campus higher than 4 floors. Eep!

Still, it was a PITA for the alarm to go off–not sure what was going on, as we don’t do drills, but the alarm went off four times first semester, and two or three second (by that time I stopped keeping count). And it had a tendency to go off just as we were forming up for Molten Core too :frowning: There was one actual fire, another was due to the boys in Cochrane having a steam bath, and the rest were nothing at all. The first one was the worst though, as when the firefighters went to clear the building, it was discovered that no one had a key to the dining hall, and since there was no visible danger they couldn’t break the doors down–we had to wait for someone with a key to arrive before we could go back in. (Irony–there was apparently a small fire in my bay at one point, but the alarm didn’t go off that time due to the window being open. Smoking is allowed so the smoke detectors aren’t the most sensitive)

By the end of the year, my reaction to the alarm went from “Oh shit, I hope there isn’t a fire” to “There’d better be a fire this time or I’ll be pissed.” Although I did eventually, at least, remember to grab a coat and shoes before going outside.

My personal favorites are the ones by fire chiefs who refuse to be postponed. (Like because there is an assembly on at the moment and the people preforming have been paid a whopping sum to come and give a preformance.)

To preempt some questions / comments:

1.) Yes, he knew. He knew about it before he even showed up.
2.) He reasoned that “Al Qaeda doesn’t care if you’re in an assembly.”
3.) He also failed to realize that, if he was trying to train people what to do in the case of a fire, while in an assembly, there are better methods for training.

In the months before this particular display of empathy, he also decided that every fire drill would happen during lunch.

Granted, he had a beef (probably legit) with our principal at the time, and the new principal has smoothed things out, but really, he liked to call drills just to piss people off.

Generally yes. I suppose the view is that there’s not much point doing a trial evacuation unless you do it properly. Then the authorities can assess how quickly people get to the ground floor, whether people had trouble getting down the stairs, whether anyone was silly enough to try using the lifts etc etc.

I completely empathize with the irritation over the fire drills. I was in Vegas for March Madness and we’re sitting in our hotel room minding our own business (well sorta). The fire alarm goes off and then they say, this is just a drill. The alarm keeps on going on for a good 45 minutes and about every 15 minutes they say, this is only a test. OK, we know the damn alarm works. Shut it off, OK? Finally the power goes out so we can’t watch the game so we head out to the casino. We walk outside and there’s a guy guarding the elevator which you can’t take. So, we hike down the 15 floors, as the alarm continues to go off for another half an hour.

The next day. Same fucking thing. This is March Madness, round of 64, a very huge weekend for Vegas and they have to test the fire alarm now? Christ!

So, I’m sitting at the airport the day after that, and the fire alarm goes off there. I’m sitting at the bar and no one is doing anything. So, I ask the bartender, “Should I be worrying about this?” He says no, he’d say something if it was real. Shouldn’t you be able to tell the difference between a real one and a fake one? Shouldn’t they announce something over the public announce system after the fact? What if you are taking a dump? Wouldn’t you be having a panic attack?

This is how America is preparing for terrorist attacks. Cry wolf until the public is so anesthetized that when someone releases sarin in the airport we all sit blithely in our bar stools sipping martinis as we finally notice we cannot breathe after paralysis has set in.

I find this all pretty fucking lame, if this is Homeland’s Security plan for emergency preparedness.

And…it went very well, thank you.

I work in a 36-floor office building, but thank god I only work on the ninth floor. They do a full evacuation fire drill usually once per year (and not during the winter).

However, my office will be moving to a different building next year - on the 27th floor! :eek: I think I’ll keep a pair of running shoes under my desk at all times. Going down those stairs in high heels can be a killer.

We used to get these all the time in college, some drunk asshole wants to play funny @ the non-coed dorms by pulling the things.

And I was one drooling second away from losing my virginity, too. Goddammit, I’m still pissed!

There aren’t enough of these :eek: to go around.

Same thing happened when I lived in the dorms (except for the virginity part). The fire alarm would get pulled about once every two weeks. Sometimes it was from people that thought it was funny; sometimes it was a kitchen alarm or something dumb.

The guy next door and I would get irritated every time it happened so eventually we decided to make the best of it. Every time there was a fire alarm, we’d meet out front and go to the bars.

We used to love fire drills in school. After all, it got us out of whatever class we were in at the time. The exception to this was PE. Standing outside in the rain (because hey, it’s Britain) in a netball skirt and t-shirt is not fun.

It got to the point where some moron was setting it off everyday. The headmaster evertually said he would automatically expel anyone who was caught doing it. It soon stopped.

Usually, at the colleges/universities I’ve been to, there’s a fire drill in the Fall and in the Spring. (I guess they figure the Summer students are either not worth saving from death or are smart enough to figure out how to get out quickly.)

One time however, after the Fall semester drill had been held, I’m doing office-helper type activities and I smell… something. Something hot. Overheated. Like I was suddenly standing over one of the steam heating vents. But so far as I was aware, the steam heat hadn’t been turned on yet.


All those years of fire drills paid off as everyone moseyed out, carefully avoiding the ‘smoke filled’ stair well. (The building is shaped like a hollow square, with stairwells in each corner.)

Turns out my nose was spot on: Physical Plant was doing a trial run of the steam system to make sure all was well, and one of the pipes ruptured. Steam heating being what it is, it took awhile for them to shut everything down.

Until then, however, we had the fun of watching the steam billow out of the central courtyard of the building like it was a mutant volcano.

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Something similar happened to my father when he was in high school, but it was during swimming class so all he had on was a towel.