Fire Alarms

January 16th, 2006 by Potato

Our building is ridiculous for fire alarms: every month they test them, often for hours at a time. So of course, our first reaction after hearing one go off is to ignore it. You’d think some of these insurance agents/safety inspectors had never heard of the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Anyhow, one went off incessently today, and their trick for telling us that it’s a real one through all the tests is that a real one will “sound continuously”. Not that it matters, but on test days it sounds almost continuously… there are just 1 second breaks every 30-40 seconds. So after about a minute of non-stop bleeping, I start to guess that this might be a real one. So I grab the cat and throw her none-too-gently into her carry crate (which she’s not thrilled with, not one little bit) and head out into the hallway.

The alarm in the hallway is somehow even louder than the one in my apartment, seriously threatening permanent ear damage (and I fear for the poor kitty, who can’t even shove her paws in her ears). Is there some sort of limit as to how loud they’re allowed to make those things? As it stands, the alarms in the hallways are loud enough that the one in my unit is completely redundant. Out in the hall were a number of other people who also waited over a minute before deciding to poke their heads out and herd their pets, similarly lulled into thinking of the fire alarm as a mere annoyance rather than a life-saving device.

At least there was smoke in the hallway, so it wasn’t a complete jerk-around.

Relax, everything’s fine: it turns out that some welders had come by to make some repairs to… something, and hadn’t adequately ventilated their area, and the hallway around them filled with smoke and tripped the alarms. So after getting to the lobby, they sent us all back up, dog owners desperately trying to keep them from sticking their heads into the assembled cat carriers, while the landlords finally got the alarms to turn off for a minute.

Then I’m not sure if they decided to bump fire alarm test day up by a week, or if they just couldn’t get the alarms to stay off, because they went on and off intermittently for another hour, further freaking out the cat and annoying me.

Oh: does anyone know if I can recycle a frying pan? There’s a lot of metal in there, but it’s “contaminated” by the non-stick coating and the paint on the bottom and stuff…

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