Good thing it was just a drill fuckers

So today we had a scheduled fire drill. We’d had a memo out about two weeks ago, to advise us that, yes, we have to evacuate this small office tower.

The alarm went off, I’m right next to the rear emergency exit door, so I zipped down all the stairs quickly while it was still empty, because I’ve got some nasty road rash from crashing my bike and wanted to get down all the stairs without bending my knee. That’s easier to do when there’s no one else taking the stairs and you can use both railings.

By the time I got from the top floor to about the third, there were a few people in front of me (hey, I’m not that fast). They got to a door marked EXIT, but it didn’t open, so they continued down to the basement. That’s a dead end. This door was the one marked “EXIT” with two different signs, don’t ignore that! But I’m not pitting those office workers who went against thier good instincts when the door didn’t seem right. It wasn’t their fault.

I pit the fucking idiot restaurant on the first floor that had stacked crates of produce in front of the fucking fire door!!! :mad: They were stacked taller than me!

I knew the way out from past fire drills. I was also the first guy down the stairs, so I gave the door a shove and felt a little give, understood something was blocking it, and then gave it some serious muscle. I started smashing my shoulder against it over and over. Fuck me! If this had been a real fire and the stairwell was filling full of smoke this would have been really bad! After several more heave-ho smashes, I got the door opened just wide enough to fit most of the average sized adults with a bit of a squeeze. We were able to accommodate the larger folks by clearing it from the outside.

Across from the crates of produce, were crates of bottled water, also stacked illegally in the emergency exit pathway. If those idiots had stacked them the other way around, with the heavier crates of water against the fire door, I don’t think I could have gotten the door open.

The kicker?.. Yes, that’s right, there’s more… We’re in a secure building. You can’t access any floors from the rear stairwell, unless you have a swipable passcard. But your passcard is only good for your own floor. Mine is the top floor and I’m nursing a wounded knee. And if you don’t have a passcard (most employees here do not), then you can’t open any of the other doors in the stairwell.

The “security” feature evidently does not disengage when the fire alarm goes off. We were all very nearly trapped in the stairwell. :mad:

And yeah, I let the fire marshall who was present to evaluate the drill know. He looked pissed. I hope he fined those jackasses.

Last Christmas we were in an Atlatic City, N.J. resort site. Several people, including my sister, went out to look on the ocean. I didn’t.

“Come on out” she said.

“I don’t trust the door not to lock behind me,” I replied. I’ve learned over the years.

“They’re supposed to be fire doors,” she said.

We checked the doors, and found that some of them wouldn’t even open – they’d been zip-locked closed by plastic ziplock straps through the handles of both doors.
My sister works for the State of New Jersey, Fire Safety. She was pissed. We tracked down some guards (it was really late at night), and she gave them a piece of her mind, then called the management the next day.

When I finally bashed my way through, there was a restaurant kitchen staffer, just stadning there looking at me with bovine incredulity, like: “Gee, I’ve never seen anyone come out of there before.” and completely oblivious to the fact that we’d had to smash our way out. He was looking at us as if we’d said “excuse me” because his cart was blocking the aisle at the grocery store.

Which brings me to another question… The restaurant is in our building, so how come the fire alarm wasn’t going off for them? You could hear it only because we smashed open the door to the stairwell. Did the fire marshall turn theirs off to prevent dine-and-dashing? Or is that always the case and our office could be an inferno while their customers remain in the building obilviously?

I’m glad you guys reported these things. That is unconscionably egregious. I’d like to see some people do serious jail time for that.

When I was a bank teller, one day the fire alarm went off. We were ordered to stay at our windows and continue serving customers. I have no idea why I stayed. What could they do, fire me? At the very least, the fire alarm was at a dangerous decibel level.

Speaking for myself, since 9-11 I have promised myself:

  1. To be extra-nice to cabin crew.
  2. Take fire drills seriously.

I’d check it daily now and call the fire marshall any day they had stuff there.

Alarms in modern buildings can generally be turned on and off by zone for drill purposes. Running a fire drill in a busy restaurant would be a disaster (and pointless, too, since most of the people there–customers–wouldn’t still be there in the event of a fire). I’d assume the actual alarms would ring everywhere.

I hope your efforts to open the door toppled every single crate to the floor.

I hope it broke every bottle & jar in the boxes. :mad:

It should have been, seeing how your path of egress was through the restaurant. It would be a pain as jacquilynne notes, but too bad.

A better question is why the fire exit for your building leads to a restaurant and not an exit.

That is probably a violation of the life safety code too, but it’s hard to say because there are exceptions.

I’d follow up with a call to the Fire Marshall to ask him about these items. It seems there are some issues that need to be addressed in this building.

Missed the edit window:

It’s not clear if your fire exit leads to the restaurant itself, or a passageway that the restaurant was using (even if temporarily) for storage. Is the door at leasted marked as a fire door?

My brain is scrambled. Saw the title of the thread and in my head I heard “Good thing it was just some drill fuckers” people who fuck drills. I just called my co-worker a drill fucker. now I have that thing where if you say a word too much it starts to sound like really weird gibberish. drill drill drill

We don’t go through the restaurant. The emergency staircase ends on the first floor, behind their kitchen area. Our fire door and the resaurant’s fire door share an 8 foot long corridor that empties into the alley.

So by filling the corridor with produce and crates of bottled water, they are blocking their own emergency exit too. If they had a bad kitchen fire, the only way out would be through their loading doors.

And yes, all the doors were clearly labelled with enormous red placards with reflective white lettering that says “emergency exit”. It looks like they are using the alley emergency door as an extra loading door and the exit corridor as an extra storage space (both of which is a violation of their lease.) It also means they’ve dones something to disable the alarm in their emergency exit door because if you open any of the emergency exti stairwell doors or exits, an alarm goes off.

That what I figured. A fire drill (that the customers couldn’t possibly know about) would have a horrendous impact on their business (customers might think their kitchen is nuts). I guess I’m a bit surprised though that it’s so independent that they had no indication that several hundred people were going to exit and congragate in front of their doors.

Unfortunately, no. As they were stacked so heavily and perfectly evenly against the door, and the whole door moved smoothly, they didn’t topple over. It was like moving one big huge unit, despite throwing my weight against it repeatedly.

I’m going back down to check in a little while to see if the doors are open and shit is still piled high in there.

Good on you - I’d also suggest, if you’re willing to be a prick, check the fire door once a week or so, in the future - and if they block it again - call the fire marshall’s office.

How would that make him a prick? Sounds downright sensible.

Actually, I just checked it now and they have different stuff piled in there.

I was also wrong with my estimate. The “corridor” is a lot smaller than I remember, it’s basically wide enough for both emergency doors to open wide with plenty of clearance before you get to the street. So more like a 6 foot space that they decided to use as a closet.

I’m contacting the fire marshall.

ETA: And my boss is fuming. When I went out the door, I had to hit the blue “unlock” button, the way you do to the main door after hours. (Even if you hit the panic bar, the door is locked unless you hit the blue button that disengages the magnetic lock). That’s not supposed to happen. The magnetic lock is supposed to disengage when the alarm goes off. It didn’t.

Only in the sense that he’d be racking up fines for the resturant because they’re too stupid/arrogant to actually pay attention to fire safety regulation.

For Swallowed My Cellphone, it’s a very sensible thing. But some people have problems deliberately inflicting fines like that.
On preview: Good on you! Keep doing that, until the bastards learn it’s supposed to be open.

I totally knew what you meant. You weren’t implying I’d be a prick to do so, rather you meant that a lot of people don’t stand up for basic rights because they think “I don’t want to be a prick” or “But I like the restaurant, I don’t want to get them in trouble” or “But I don’t want to cause a fuss” etc.

But fuck it! They had us trapped and if there’d been smoke we could have choked.

Just be glad you found out about this on a drill. Now you must do whatever it takes to insure that it won’t happen again when there is a real fire. If that means the restaurant goes out of business because they are too stupid to follow a simple instruction, that’s a shame for whomever liked the food there. I would rather have unhappy diners than carbonized coworkers.

Fuck em. Stupidity should be painful. Call the fire marshal. If there is a management company that runs the building, call them also.
If it keeps up, call the local TV station news department. Nothing like a little negative publicity to give people an attitude adjustment.