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Well, that was fun. [FIRE!! Or not.] - helen-louise
baratron
baratron
Well, that was fun. [FIRE!! Or not.]
So... today was fun, since during the PhD talks (given by students), the fire alarm went off. Poor Davide, who is my grumpy officemate who is never happy, was halfway through his talk: which has to be some sort of nightmare. I mean, there you are, you've got yourself all psyched up to give the presentation, you're halfway through, and the fire alarm goes off. Today, he had a reason for being grumpy.

It was also fun since I got to use my Personal Evacuation Plan for the first time since I started using the wheelchair to get around. We were in the basement, a not-very-accessible area at the best of times. So I just called to everyone that "someone" should tell the Fire Warden that I'd be waiting by the lift shaft, since that is what my Personal Evacuation Plan says. And people were freaking out about whether I'd be all right! I explained how it works: I wait by the lift shaft, a Fire Warden comes to check on me, they find out if it's a real fire, if it is then we arrange evacuation via stairs and/or the "fire-safe lift". (Apparently, the main lifts for the building are now double-walled and have two separate power supplies, so they can still be used safely even if one power supply burns out!). It's amazing how many people (science PhD students, postdocs, and lecturers) couldn't get the hang of the facts that:

(a) I'm perfectly safe waiting by the lift because all the fire doors shut, making it a sealed area, as long as the Fire Warden knows I'm there.
and
(b) I only need to waste spoons getting out of the building if it's a real fire! Sure, if it's a real fire, I can drag my arse up or down stairs, then collapse in a heap somewhere. It's perfectly safe, as long as I'm not trying to go up or down stairs while a whole load of people who walk at normal speed are trying to get out.

Sigh.

Anyway, it turned out to be a false alarm - apparently, the second malicious false alarm within a few weeks, so I didn't move at all, and we eventually went back into the room and carried on with the talks. Something like 25 minutes late. Just as well that today was the day VX is open late, so I didn't miss my opportunity to get cake. Then there would have been trouble.

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Comments
nitoda From: nitoda Date: 13th November 2012 17:37 (UTC) (Link)
Glad it wasn't a real fire. Toasted Baratron is not ideal. :-)
Ryan Tucker From: Ryan Tucker Date: 15th November 2012 12:27 (UTC) (Link)
The interesting part about elevators and fires is that the doors tend to open when they reach a floor, and then refuse to close if there is some sort of thing blocking the optical sensor. This thing can be a human, or a plume of smoke. Thus, the signs saying not to use the elevator (and the reason why they don't work at all during an alarm, without the Magic Key).

Most people seem to assume it is because the elevator shaft fills with fire and burns through the cables or something. That's not a bad thing, as far as keeping dumbasses away goes, I suppose!
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