Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Please Hold While I Run For The Nearest Door

It has been all about the emergency evacuation procedures around my office the past couple days. Even though we have been in this space for six months we are just finding out where we have to all meet in case of some sort of emergency. At the last office we all filed out the nearest door and met in the parking lot. Same plan at this building, except that after we exit the building we have to hike completely around the building, down a bit of street, past the loading docs, and up a ramp to the second floor of the parking deck.

Of course I can’t see anything wrong happening in this scenario, can you?

So after much discussion someone decided that we, the lowly employees, needed to see the emergency preparedness manual that is issued to supervisors. Sure there were instructions about fleeing fires and in case of tornados, but there were some even more fascinating procedures on what to do in case of a hostage situation and the ever hilarious “How To Handle A Bomb Threat.”

There is a whole list of questions that one should ask if they receive a call about a bomb, including:

-What is the location of the bomb?
-Is the bomb outside or inside the building?
-What does the bomb look like?
-How did it get into the building? Was it mailed or was it hand carried?
-Who are you?
-Where are you calling from?
-Why was the bomb placed there?

But first, you are supposed to alert the fine people of the HR department and possibly the authorities.

So my co-worker, who copied the list to keep by his phone, and I decided that if he gets a call he is going to throw something from his desk at my to get my attention, put his phone on mute, tell me there is a bomb threat on the line, then ask the above mentioned questions. My job it to run screaming from the building, not informing HR or the authorities until I am a safe distance away, preferably seated with a latte at the Panera Bread across the street.

The situation only got funnier today when the monthly test of the emergency siren went off. See, in the state of Illinois on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:00 a.m. This has been going on since I was at least in Kindergarten because I have vivid memories of being in the middle of coloring when the siren would go off and some kids in my class would start crying* and my first thought, at the tender age of 5, was “shut up”.

So today being the first Tuesday in March the siren went off promptly at 10:00 a.m. and after some joking comments we pretty much all ignored it. Except for the two ladies in the department next to mine who were completely and utterly confused. They were discussing if it was an actual threat and if they should take some action. They were wondering why there were not alarms or flashing lights going off in the building.

Lucky for them my bomb-threat obsessed co-worker went over and explained the situation to them. Which while it was nice was a shame because I wanted to listen to the nonsensical panic for a few more minutes.

But now I am left wondering if they hear that sound this spring, as a tornado is bearing down on us, if they will just calmly continue to work as chalk it up to some sort of test…

I’ll let you know in April.

~The Office Scribe

1 comment:

Scrappy Doo said...

we have a fire drill twice a month. I usually just close my door and keep working.