So Prepared.

A couple of times each year, the glass tower which houses LUNLF decides to test its tenants with a fire drill. I think we're timed, and then probably scolded by our local fire hall for a lack of speed. We always know about these drills ahead of time, because they send an e-mail out earlier in the week, alerting everyone to the fact that they will need to pretend that the building is on fire at this particular time, on this particular day. It's usually a PDF, complete with little graphics, some arrows and always includes the exact time. This is handy because it's common knowledge that as soon as that fire alert starts, the elevators stop and you are forced to take the stairs down to the ground floor. This is also when the millions paid in rent for the penthouse, while totally worth it on the average day, just do not cut it. Especially not when you are wearing heels. However, if you choose to remain behind and are not wheelchair-bound or pregnant (they await "help"), you apparently get "reported". A chilling thought, indeed.

Usually, I am smart enough to catch the elevator down before the actual drill begins, saving myself a very slow descent from the clouds, amongst irritated looking people trying to simultaneously walk down steep stairs whilst keeping up-to-the-minute on their BlackBerries. Walking down stairs slowly is a lot harder than walking down stairs quickly. I can go grab my latté to keep me warm while I wait with my co-workers outdoors for the signal that it is "safe" to return to the office. Today, I was a little slow, totally missed my window of opportunity with the elevators, and was corralled into that stairwell. What a very not awesome way to start the day.

Besides our scheduled fire drills, occasionally, the signals go off randomly in the middle of the day. The response to the fire signals, in this office at least (so I'm going to generalize for all law firms everywhere) is hilarious. No one stops what they are doing. Most get up to shut the doors to their offices to drown out the noise (actually a smart move, in the case of a real fire), some end their phone calls because of the annoyance, but most just truck on, pretty much immune to any threat of real danger. It rarely crosses my mind that there actually could be something wrong. This may be because 99% of the time, after the signal has droned on for 10-15 minutes or so, we get an announcement from a bored-sounding security guard confirming that "the situation has been investigated and there appears to be no fire." Shocking. They usually leave out the part about us being annoyed for half an hour because of burnt toast in the food court. And then there was that one time that we ignored the signals for ages, walked down the stairs to go get coffee, and found the lobby filled with smoke. Apparently, a car had caught fire (?) on one of the 12 or so levels of parking garage below the buidling and there actually was a threat to the building. However, no one was alerted, no bored-sounding security guard told us to get the $%#& out, so no one moved.

Brilliant. Obviously, we were all awaiting our e-mail notification of what to expect, and what time to evacuate, complete with graphics and arrows, if possible. We like things that are pretty and visually stimulating.

We are so prepared.


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