08 January, 2007

Danger Will Robinson!

Fire Drill! My office shifts to a calm insanity, exiting like cattle to the 34th St. door. As we descend the main staircase, people from the building's other wing look confused but follow us out. I walk up Sansom St. and notice professors still in their office, seemingly unconcerned about the blaze about to consume the (mostly stone) building. Nobody is gathered outside of the Sansom entrance, either. Strange, but it was lunchtime and the building was mostly empty at the time so I didn't think too much of it. After a spell the alarm silences, the building once again for human occupancy.

A fire drill. Not so out of the ordinary. I found out later that this wasn't a fire drill, though. There was no inferno, no merciful arsonist come to provide me with a 10-minute release from my desk. This was an emergency alarm, from the women's bathroom none the less.

Some background, culled from this page:
We have a very high number of false alarms from the existing bathroom panic alarms throughout the campus. In many respects this is more dangerous than having no alarms at all. The people--both people within the building (students and staff) and the responding police officers and security officers--obviously become used to these false alarms, and human nature being what it is, people assume then that the alarms are never real alarms, they're always false alarms. And of course as you multiply the number of devices, the opportunities for mechanical malfunction or for a false alarm begin to multiply.
Yeah, the old crying wolf problem. There's another problem however that wasn't mentioned: when it's activated, the alarm sounds exactly like a fire alarm. Naturally when the fire alarm goes off, everyone leaves the building. Therefore, when the emergency alarm from the women's restroom sounds (it's a local alarm), everyone immediately vacates the area. Smart. So if someone is being attacked or having a heart attack, not only is there nobody nearby to help, but you couldn't hear their screams over the alarm anyway.

The photos in this journal are the visual representation of Bjork's music.

This game is addicting as hell, and deceptively hard at first.

I got my hands on a three-disc set of the best of The Dubliners. I know what's going to be the highest entry in my last.fm, or at least near the top, this week.

...And Happy Early Birthday James! Tomorrow he celebrates the 5th anniversary of becoming legal for most things.


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