When you join the professional world and obtain a career job, one of the most puzzling surprises is that things from way back in your past still exist and are practised. Like feeling ostracized in the lunchroom à la Mean Girls (only the cliques are other business units, not a mean Rachel McAdams, and they’d let you sit with them if you asked) and fire drills. And I suppose it makes sense that fire drills of course still exist and are practised, the premise is entire the same: move a whole bunch of bodies out of a building/dangerous situation to safety. And whether those bodies are 8 year-olds with velcro sneakers or 45 year olds with Harry Rosen suits, the principle is entirely the same.
But I can’t help but feel that the practice is very flawed. We recently had such a drill at work, and rather then being in a single-, or two-floored school, we were in an 8-floor office building. In a dangerous situation you’re not allowed to take the elevators lest you want to live out a claustophobic’s worst nightmare and be trapped in a metal box in the midst of a raging fire. So we all filed down the stairs very obediently. Bonus of being an adult, surrounded by adults: We all just grabbed our purses/wallets/phones and just walked down the stairs like rational people. Rather than being the only adult surrounded by panicking six-year olds who run about like mad men, only to have to shepherd them down the hall. Like herding cats. Really tricky. The down side is that adults are in fact so nonchalant that they try and bring their latte with them. Word to the wise: that’s a slipping hazard, should you spill even just a drop of your vanilla-soy-no-whip-lukewarm-double-shot-venti. Your caffeine fix is not worth more than my life, whatever you may think. But the real flaw is that our building has eight floors. You meander down stair after stair, and then stop in various stair wells as the lower floors get backed up going through the exit, and then slowly you start again, down the stairs, only to get backed up yet again. I can’t help but feel that were we really in a crisis situation, floors 5 through 8 would die. And I’m on floor 8. On a real legit high-rise, floors 5-25 would die. That’s a significant ratio people.
So I’ve devised what I think is a fail-safe emergency exist stratagy. Floors four and below can slog it down the stairs like before, make it out alive, and frolic in the sunshine/their newfound freedom/celebration at saving their lives. Floors five and above boot it up the stairs to the ceiling wherein they strap on a jet pack and shoot off the building to a prearranged safety point. The local pub perhaps. I mean really, who doesn’t love a good jet pack?