Friday, April 6, 2012

Alarms and Being Alarmed

I woke up this morning at 6 AM with emergency alarms going off in my apartment. I looked outdoors and the weather was fine -- what's up? I came out into my living area and everything looked fine. I opened the door to the hallway and everything was normal. I crawled on a chair up to the alarm in the living room and quickly determined I couldn't shut it off. I looked out into the hallway again and could see people evacuating. I grabbed my bathrobe and went down the stairs. From this stair well most gathered in the front lobby beyond the security doors but still within the building. Here the sound was a bit baffled. Every alarm in the whole building was ringing and the sound was very loud. In a few minutes firetrucks arrived.

The first fire fighter came through the door with an ax in his hand. That is a rather a startling scene. He was followed by another firefighter carrying lengths of water hoses on his shoulder. They went into the main lobby and began to explore.

The next group of firefighters worked with the alarm box in the lobby and thankfully could turn off the alarms.

Altogether 5 firetrucks arrived including one ladder truck. I'm certain they brought everything when they saw an alarm from a four story building with 120 units.

After we were told we could return to our apartments I walked up the stairs only to find a group of firefighters carefully examining a ventilating fan in the hallway near my entrance. I could smell smoke and thought that was why they were examining the fan. Then I realized the smell was coming from their clothing -- their clothes smell like smoke. I guess there would be no point in washing or cleaning the outwear to get the smell out for it would only come back during the next fire. Anyway, today I learned that firefighters smell like smoke!

I thought as long as I was up that I would start a load of laundry. I could hear something clunking the washing machine, but thought it was really just the zippers on the jeans. At 9 I had an appointment for a pedicure. I was sitting there when it came to me that the clunking, clunking was probably the flash drive/thumb drive I was using yesterday in groups of meetings. I was alarmed! For those who use English as one of their additional language -- being alarmed means being frightened by something that is happening.

I came home and put that load of clothes in the dryer, looked through the washing machine and couldn't see any sign of a flash drive, but I heard the clunk, clunk again. I opened the dryer door and out tumbled the flash drive. It seemed quite dry, so I plugged it into a computer. So now I can tell you -- at least this flash drive  -- can survive being laundered. All the files on the flash drive just fine!

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