The fire alarm went off at work this morning giving me my first experience of being launched down the fire escape stairs in an “Evac chair” I must admit I would have found it quite a laugh if I hadn’t been terrified there was a real fire and only marginally convinced my colleague who was “driving” knew what he was doing!
The whole business of how to evacuate me in the event of an emergency has been taken terribly seriously and we’ve had numerous meetings and discussions about what the best plan should be. There is a little team of people who implement a “buddy” system to make sure I get out alive and about 10 people are involved to make sure at least 2 of them will be around in the event of catastrophe.
I don’t like all the fuss to be honest and have played a passive role in the whole thing. I understand the need for a plan and certainly value the importance they place on my safety but I’ve politely declined invitations for a practice run as I don’t relish the humiliation in front of the entire office!
Anyway, it was agreed that they’d implement “the plan” during fire drills and that drills would be carried out at times when I wasn’t at work.
Unfortunately, my colleague had signed me into the building this morning as we arrived at the same time. This meant I didn’t go through reception so they didn’t know I was around. The plan had been to stash me in a side office out of the way if I’d been in the building while they implemented “the plan” but I’d foiled this by entering the building undetected.
Anyway, the alarm starting going off and I must admit I panicked! I can’t help feeling vulnerable not being able to leg it like everyone else and I scooted off towards the stairwell, going round in circles and flapping my hands about it terror. Out of nowhere my old boss appeared with the “Evac chair” and coaxed me into it. He wheeled it towards the back stair case as this is where I’m meant to go! (If I’d read “the plan” in full like I was supposed to I’d have known that!)
A few bumps, huffs and puffs later we’d made it to the ground floor where the receptionist greeted us with a clip board and a stop watch and announced we’d managed it in just under 4 minutes!
Getting me back up to my floor and out of it again was less dignified but I managed it just before everyone filed back in.
I’m so glad I did it though as I now know where I’m supposed to go and how it all works. I was also fairly humbled by how well everyone else implemented “the plan” and am grateful that my life would have been saved if it was the real thing!