Before I speak on the topic of fire-drills, I know that there are those out there who will be quick to point out that fire-drills are a necessary precaution and increase readiness. I have this to say to you: establish a sense of humor for yourself. Life will have a nasty habit of ruining your day if you fail to follow my advice.
Fire drills are dangerous. Mark my words when I say that after years and years of fire drills, they're going to become deadlier than fires.
When I hear a fire alarm, my heart doesn't race, and I don't sprint to the little paper map next to the door to follow a highlighted route that looks more like an etch-a-sketch done by a schizophrenic than the quickest way out of the building. The fact of the matter is, fire drills serve as an inconvenience. There are several truths to fire alarms.
1. Fire drills always occur in the middle of a crucial activity, i.e. filing your tax return, registering to vote, or waiting for your download ticket to count down so you can get that new Lil' Wayne mixtape that you need right away because it will be played and hopelessly lame approximately 15 minutes post-release.
2. If you're keeping a good eye out, you can always know when they're coming. Building honchos will be milling around, checking their watches and pretending to do work. Although this may not be much of a departure from their normal activities.
3. Fire drills always happen on the days where the weather is SHITTY. One minute you're sitting at your desk relishing that the hurricane-force winds and sideways sleet are outside the window, and the next minute a musical note taken from that dialing up to the internet noise is telling you that you must leave your dry chair and join the single digits outside to practice safety.
Since when is safety something that needs to be practiced?!? Safety isn't a sport, it's not something that you get better at through practicing it. "Well Bob, I'd love to join you and the fam' for a BBQ on saturday but I've gotta take the kids to safety practice, Johnny's got a varsity building fire next week".
Safety needs no practice. What the fire marshalls fail to take into account is that us non-fire marshalls are human beings too. Fire burns us, smoke chokes us, and yes, water drowns us. That being said, if there's a fire burning at one end of the hallway, I'm willing to bet my Roth IRA (like that's worth anything anymore) that most functional human beings aren't going to run up to try to understand what that strange flickering orange light is. Fuck, you'd think at this point we're past caveman mentality where fire is this mysterious beast that should be tamed to make meat not kill half of the tribe.
And that's just why fire drills are so dangerous. Say I'm sitting in the library and the fire alarm goes off. I'm not thinking about everything I've ever been taught about avoiding getting hurt by fire. I'm thinking "FUCK, now I have to pack up all my books, get my ipod out, walk all the way downstairs to stand outside and watch the building supers dance around pretending to be responding to a crisis. All this to walk back up the stairs find my nook again and try to relocate my train of thought.
But what if it was a REAL fire, with flames and burning timbers and rubble? There would be a crowd of annoyed 20 year olds slowly getting their shit together, not caring that the atrium of the building has COLLAPSED, and they're all trapped inside unknowingly awaiting their imminent doom.
Fire drills have desensitized us to the point where a tiny fraction of the population even associates fire alarms with actual fires. I myself have endured the skull-numbing buzz of a fire alarm set off by a small paper fire. The paper fire was started by bored office attendents dicking around with a lighter and some bathroom tissue. I didn't even smell smoke! SHIT!
I realize that fire alarms save lives, and that's not what I'm arguing. It's fire DRILLS that are the boy who cried wolf shit.
If I've never heard a fire alarm before, and I smell smoke and all of a sudden this banshee-on-the-wall starts wailing it's shit, I'm gonna get the fuck out of there before I can ask questions.
Man, I never knew how "fired up" fire drills get me.