Monday, December 10, 2012

Fire drills are dumb

"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
-- Mitch Hedberg
Over the years, we as a society have done a pretty good job of getting rid of some of the dumber things that we used to do fairly regularly. Ritualistic human sacrifice to appease various demigods, burning people accused of being witches, not allowing women to vote; all consigned to a time in the past when we were not that much smarter than the farm animals we were having sex with. By my count, the only dumb things we're still doing are beauty pageants for children and fire drills. I know people are making big money off the beauty pageants so they're not going anywhere but fire drills need to cease.

Before you people jump on me for being anti-fire safety, no. I am not anti-fire safety. I'm not even against fire drills, for people who need to participate in fire drills. Such as school children, because they're very stupid, and for safety personnel in helmets and safety vests with Maglites and big key rings who have to clear sectors and vectors in order to save people's lives. For me and the rest of the working class cattle who have no such responsibilities but are smarter than the little crumbsnatchers who can't be trusted with sharp scissors, we should be exempt from that shit.

Here's what happens when a fire alarm goes off in almost every professional work environment in America. Everybody sighs and starts moaning about how they don't have time for this. Never mind that they had just been praying silently for something... anything... to break up the endless, monotonous drudgery that is their "job". Once the fire alarm goes off, they're the most dedicated employee in the history of business. This is followed by people peeking over their cubicle walls and asking each other, "you think it's real?", "nah, it's not real", "what if it is real?", "that would be hilarious!", "it's never real", "I thought I smelled smoke", "it's not real", "I wish it was real", "I don't smell anything", "maybe it's real", "wouldn't we hear sirens from fire trucks by now?", "it's not real". After five or ten minutes of this, somebody finally says, "I guess we'd better go outside" and everybody trudges reluctantly outside. They stand around a while until someone gives the "ALL CLEAR" signal and then they shuffle back inside, mumbling and grumbling about what a huge waste of time it was.

Normally, I don't take the side of people bitching about stuff that doesn't qualify as much more than a minor inconvenience, but in this case they're right. It is a waste of time for almost everyone.

For example, me.

I hereby promise to any and all safety personnel entrusted with the responsibility of making sure I don't die in a fire at work, now and in perpetuity, that as long as I am ambulatory, I will not sit at my desk and burn up. If I see or smell evidence of a fire, I will get up and leave, whether the alarm goes off or not. If you'll stop making me participate in fire drills, I'll take it on faith that every time the alarm goes off that it's an emergency and I will respond accordingly (aka: leave).
Safety monitors, feel free to cut that out and save it as an official waiver on my behalf.

Also, there's no reason to waste the valuable time of the safety people by making me practice evacuation techniques. I'm in an office that has two doors, both of which lead into a lobby. There are, like, 16 doors in our lobby. Seriously, it's basically a room made entirely out of doors. Here's the evacuation plan that already exists in my brain:
  1. Get up and go out one of the two doors into the lobby.
  2. If one of the doors is on fire, use the other one.
  3. Exit the lobby through any door you want.
  4. If some of the lobby doors are on fire, don't use those.
  5. If all of the lobby doors are on fire, you're dreaming because that's basically impossible.
If I actually need to practice that, I deserve to die.

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