Friday, August 31, 2007

Today, when in office......

There was this sudden, piercing, high-pitched wail that rang out. It took a couple of minutes, of hurriedly trying to prevent premature deafness, for our rational side to start functioning and we realized it was the fire alarm sounding in the building. And even as that realization was dawning, we could see the security personnel outside approaching our office. I opened the office door and poked my head out and before I could utter a word, before my larynx even thought of working, I was firmly and politely shown the entrance of the fire escape and asked to get out of the building.

Now, smart guy that I am, I understood what that meant. So I calmly pulled my head in and, after locking my PC and informing everyone else about it, walked out of the office and onto the fire escape. There I joined a whole bunch of people involved in the activity of calmly but quickly descending down the stairs. And as we hit the exit door, we all spilled out of the building and joined the multitude of people who were, in a similar fashion, spilling out of the various fire escape exit doors around the building. Reminded me of tributaries flowing down and joining to transform into a mighty river on the plains!!

So there on the ground level I became just another drop in that river of people and found myself being carried to the far side of the building. And even as we started filling up the far side, we all heard it. Around a thousand odd necks turned in near perfect unison to catch sight of what we all knew would be the source of the sound. The huge, red fire engine with its huge sky lift and posse of personnel was already turning into the main gates. And behind it was the much smaller, both in size and siren-sound, ambulance. Parking right in-front of the main entrance of the building, teams on both the vehicles immediately got to work. While the sky lift team got ready to be hoisted up, the water gun teams secured the hoses and the ambulance team got ready with their first aid kits.

As this drama was unfolding on the ground-level, the traffic outside had come to a stand still. Passers-by were watching open mouthed at the person screaming his lungs out from the 6th floor window. A couple of groups of people even ran out of their vehicles, wanting to help but were turned away by the security persons who were fighting a losing battle trying to keep the road in-front of the office free for a fast ambulance get away and were already stretched.

By this time I had started to wander around, bored, and finally found my way back into the building. As I made my way back to my desk, I heard a huge applause from outside and heard the ambulance leave the grounds, siren screaming. And then the people started pouring back into the building to get to their respective offices. I could see the excited look on a lot of faces and noticed that a lot of folks had put their camera phones to good use, capturing the whole thing. But I couldn't have been bothered. This was my 6th fire drill in as many years and I somehow haven't gotten around to appreciating these play-acting rescue operations.

May be I am weird in that way!

3 comments:

Mickie said...

Since I live in NY, I can appreciate your feelings on this subject. I find the fire drills annoying and disruptive. I do love men in uniform though so seeing the firemen is usually a bright spot in my day.

The folks in my office made me "fire marshall." They tell me it's my responsibility to make sure everyone gets out safely and smoothly. I say until they get me a big, red hat to wear, if there's a real fire it's my job to get may cowardly a** outta the building!

me said...

A fire marshall. I certainly pity you. I know how much grief I give my fire marshalls, so all the best. :)

In our building, the marshalls get blue an green hats. No red ones.

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