One day last week, here at Sterling Court, management scheduled a resident meeting with the local fire department, in order for them to go over safety rules in the event of a fire.
Now, I live in a 3 story building that houses about 140 apartments. We have one elevator for the entire building and it is a very small one. We don’t even have a freight elevator. With the many walkers and Mobies that lots of the people here use in order to get around, you can just imagine how crowded the elevator gets at mealtimes, or how long one has to wait until you can even get on the elevator. Getting off the elevator presents an altogether different logistic problem and with the walkers and Mobies trying to maneuver in order to get to the door, it has also become an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
If the weather or the salamanders don’t get you here, the elevator will. I mention this only because of the Fire Dep’t. instructions that were given to us. They must have total access to the building in the event of a fire and so the elevator shuts down during an emergency (I’m still trying to figure that one out). We have been instructed to “shelter in place” and to remain in our rooms and the Firemen will come to help us all out, especially those who are immobile. Get the picture? Let me draw it up for you.
The fire alarm bell is constantly going off. You hear people in the hallways that are trying to figure out if the fire alarm is going off or if it is time for Bingo. You now know there must be a fire somewhere because you start to imagine that you are smelling smoke. Meanwhile, you are living with a spouse who happens to be in a wheelchair and is screaming and crying “Oh my God, we’re going to die”. You have previously been instructed not to open your door, which might only fan any flames. “Don’t worry” you tell your spouse, “The firemen will get here soon and get us out”. YEAH SURE! Damn, it’s getting warm in here.
You are physically able to walk down the stairs (remember that stupid elevator is not working) and safely out of the building but what about your wheelchair ridden spouse? Are you going to leave her there sweating? Of course, you could turn on the air conditioner to keep her from being deep fried but you’ll regret it later on when the dishes pile up in the sink or the laundry has to be done and she’s not there to do it. If this all sounds a bit chaotic, it’s only because it is. I have come up with a better solution and here it is:
In the event of a fire, stand up and put your feet about 12 inches apart. Bend down, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.