Fire drill at work tomorrow…

3 minute read

August 12, 2008, 7:20 PM

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been in an honest-to-goodness, genuine fire drill? It has been five years, since the last time I was in an actual, planned fire drill was back in Potomac Hall in 2003. In fact, I got to pull that alarm. That was fun.

So now for tomorrow, we’ve been notified by the building management that we’ll be having a fire drill. They’ve given themselves a 30-minute window in which to conduct the drill, and that ought to be that. The alarms in our building are Wheelock 34 horns, and then those horns are attached to Space Age light plates. Thus we have these horns:

Wheelock 34

With these lights:

Space Age light plate

Note that those are actually incandescent lights that go on and off – not strobes. Then we also have Wheelock RSS strobes inside our office. I want to say that over our suite, we have twelve strobes. That’s a lot of strobes!

Then when the alarm sounds, all of us on what I have dubbed “Team Wheelock” get to put on our orange safety vests and hard hats and do a sweep of the office to make sure everyone’s out. I have an orange FliteStar vest that I use for that, and then I’ve got a new hard hat.

Then of course, the most annoying part of pre-announced fire drills is waiting for it to begin. Waiting for the alarm to go off so we can get things going is always a bit of a bother. After all, you don’t want to get into something too deeply because you know that you’re going to be interrupted when the fire drill starts. Plus there’s the anticipation of the sudden loud noise, and that gets me a little on edge. And electric horns in particular make me nervous. I don’t know why, because it’s only electric horns that get me on edge, and not electronic horns, nor bells. Just electric horns. Go figure.

Of course, recall that I’ve been underneath electric horns on a couple of occasions when they’ve gone off, both as a child and as an adult. The first was when I was in first grade right before dismissal one day, and the fire alarm got set off accidentally. A Wheelock 7002T went off right over my head. That thing was loud. Then they had trouble resetting the system on top of that, so we got a few more blasts before it was all done. Not fun. I figure it must have been an early dismissal day, because they had to have been ringing the bell manually that particular day. The panel at my elementary school was a Fire-Lite panel, and it had two buttons next to each other – “Main Bell Test”, which I presume would ring the school’s gray Faraday bells, and then “General Alarm” directly beneath, which presumably was the panel’s drill function. I’m figuring that they hit “General Alarm” instead of “Main Bell Test”, and brought the Wheelock 7002Ts to life instead of the 6″ Faraday bells. I will cut them a wee bit of slack, though – the school was literally brand new, and they had not held the first first fire drill yet in this brand new school.

Then the other instance was in my final semester of college, and I was sitting at a table in a corridor reading a newspaper when the fire alarm went off. Once again, the horn (Simplex in this case) was right over my head when it started sounding. In that particular situation, someone burned their lunch and created a lot of smoke.

So tomorrow, I get to participate in my first fire drill in over five years, and Team Wheelock gets to show what it’s made of. Fun…

Web site: haute.pocket talking about office fire drills

Song: I think that this pretty much sums it up. (WARNING: Fire alarm sound - don't play this in a public place)

Quote: Sixth grade, in Mrs. Miller's English class, calling out the roll during a fire drill: "Arbogast? Ballew? Dove? Green? Greenmun? Hess? Miller?" (and so on and so forth down the roll - she only called last names)

Categories: Fire drills, Work