Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

Fire drill; or how I narrowly escaped being burned to a crisp

by Rebecca on 2008-04-30

This morning, our department got the following email from our admin Jill.

Good Morning,

From here forward, or for example, if we were to have a fire drill this morning, please make sure that you congregate in the park area where Tammie Monroe is holding a white sign saying “4th Floor”.

In this way, we can account for everyone quickly and efficiently.


So, I guess she was trying to warn us that weʼd be having a fire drill this morning. Subtle, huh? I donʼt know what the point of a fire drill is if they tell everyone when itʼs coming. But this is just one of the many backward things about working for state government, so Iʼm just going to roll with it. Anyway, I read this email dutifully and promptly forgot about it.

I was sitting at my desk chatting with my sister Carrie (itʼs been a slow week at work). Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jill walking up my row, so I quickly closed my chat window. She stepped into my office and said, “Rebecca!” and motioned with her hand that I was supposed to come with her. I must have looked a little confused as I stood up because Jill said, “The fire drill?” Only then did I realize that I could hear, albeit very faintly, the high pitched squeal of a fire alarm and see bright flashing lights all throughout the floor.

As I followed Jill out of our office area, I realized that she and I were the only people still there. And as we went down the stairwell behind everyone else exiting the building, I noticed that there was no one behind us, except for the staff who have volunteered to be floor wardens and safety officers during such drills. It appears that Jill and I were among the last group of people to evacuate the building during this drill.

I thanked Jill for coming to get me, and she said, “Oh, itʼs no problem — I always do one last check on the floor before heading down.” This isnʼt her job, since we have a safety officer who is supposed to do that. But apparently that safety officer isnʼt very thorough, because he didnʼt find me sitting in my office, waiting to be burned to a crisp. This is the problem with volunteer positions.

Anyway, I donʼt know why I didnʼt see my team leaving the building in a hurry. Perhaps they all exited the building in too orderly a fashion. Iʼm a little put out that they didnʼt make enough noise to alert me to impending doom. Maybe theyʼd have done that in case of a real fire, with screaming and pushing and shoving, and I wouldʼve heard the commotion and known to leave the building then.

The fire department participated in the drill, I suppose, to add a touch of authenticity. However, Jill and I did see two firemen running out of the building to the fire truck as we were exiting. And then the fire truck turned on its sirens and drove away. I hope that part wasnʼt authentic.

And thatʼs the story of how I survived a fire drill.