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When Systems Fail…

February 29, 2008
Last Sunday morning I was enjoying my typical and much loved Sunday tradition of reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee.  My cat, Scudder, was comfortably perched in my lap and all was well in the world.

Suddenly the fire alarm went off!  Not only does it go off in my building (100 Wisconsin Ave.) but a very stern female voice follows stating “A fire has been detected in the building.  Please proceed immediately to the stairwell.  Do not use the elevator!” 

My first reaction to this was searing pain.  Scudder, the cat, is a little, no a lot skittish.  When the alarm first sounded he sprang from my lap using his hind claws to give him added distance and launching power.  Much to the cost of the flesh on my legs!  At second sounding he flattened himself on the floor with his tail puffed out like that of a racoon.

I shut off the TV, grabbed a baseball cap and headed for the staircase.  After 9 flights down I found myself with a few other residents in the alley behind the building.  We proceeded to walk to the front of the building, all the while looking up the building for signs of “the fire”.   There weren’t any signs.  About 10 minutes later, the firetruck arrived.  3 firefighters got off of the truck and walked into the building.  Notice I said walked.  My guess is due to the long response time and the nonchalant way they approached the building they already knew there wasn’t a fire. 

After about 15 more minutes they gave us the “all clear” sign and we were allowed to resume our Sunday morning.  Seems a sensor in one of the commercial spaces on the lower floors was malfunctioning, thus sending out the alarm.  I’m told this was only the 2nd time in the building history that an evacuation has occured.  Glad to know this isn’t a regular Sunday morning occurance.

Anyway, I also know that I’ll NEVER be able to sleep through another fire alarm.  WOW, it was very loud.  Good to know.

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