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When There’s Fire, But Not In The Marriage

, , , , , , , | Right | January 1, 2023

The fire alarm has gone off in the mall where our store is located. We usher the few customers in our store outside so we can all head outside.

Me: “Excuse me, sir, we have to evacuate due to the fire alarm.”

Customer: “But I’m still shopping.”

Me: “You can continue shopping if it’s a false alarm and we can reopen, but we all need to leave right now.”

Customer: “I need to get a present for my wife! It’s our anniversary tonight!”

Me: “Sir, I am sure your wife would rather have you alive than have a gift.”

Customer: “…You haven’t met my wife.”

That’s Not How You’re Supposed To Do Drills, Either!

, , , , , | Working | December 28, 2022

I am a fire marshal at my place of work. Essentially, it means I am responsible for ensuring that my assigned area is clear of people when the fire alarm sounds, and I am authorised to use a fire extinguisher and run the Health-And-Safety-mandated weekly test. Due to the others on site having more demanding roles, I usually run the weekly test.

To do the test, I have to call the service company to inform them I want a test state for our building (so the fire service is not dispatched), set the alarm board to avoid cutting off the gas, and announce on the PA system that we are in a fire alarm test. As there are many deaf and hearing-impaired staff on site, I also have to leave at least two minutes from the announcement until the alarm so that they can be updated.

On the morning of our story, I have been solidly at my desk for an hour and forty-five minutes, I have not announced anything, nor have I informed my colleagues that I am doing the test — something I make sure to do, so no one thinks I am shirking my regular tasks.

The alarm sounds out. It is loud, wailing, and accompanied by flashing lights — deaf colleagues, after all. Right away, I stand and tell my manager that this cannot be a test. She is a fire marshal also, as is my team lead. Two other staff in the office have already left for the safety point. The final one is still on the phone.

Me: “We need to leave the office now.”

[Colleague] continues to talk on the phone.

Me: “This is a real alarm. We have to go now.

Manager: “[Colleague], end the call.”

[Colleague] carries on with a long “goodbye” to the caller and then stops to note who she was talking to and what record it was about.

Me: “This is a real alarm. There could be a fire in the building.”

Manager: “Out of the office. Now.”

[Colleague] stops to fetch a coat and scarf. It is early spring, but not cold enough to need that much.

Me: “[Colleague]! We have to go!!”

Colleague: “Oh, it isn’t a test? I thought you had to do those!”

I usher her out of the office.

Me: “I didn’t tell you I was doing a test, I didn’t announce it, and all six other people in this section evacuated. It is not a test.”

As it turned out, a large space heater placed on a desk — I work with some very… different… people — had triggered a smoke detector.

My colleague had a very stern talking-to from management and needed to sign an improvement notice over the incident. When a fire marshal tells you to get going, you get going!

Fire Or Fired: Your Choice

, , , , | Working | December 28, 2022

In the building where I work, I am, with some other people, responsible for making sure everybody has evacuated the building and security in case of a fire alarm. This means I have an area where I have to check — in the bathrooms and meeting rooms — if they’re empty, all the windows are closed, and so on.

Usually, when there’s an exercise, we receive an email informing us, so we know it’s a drill. Only the people who are responsible for evacuation receive an email.

One day, the fire alarm sets off in the building. I haven’t received an email, so I know it’s serious, and I start the evacuation of my area.

Everybody leaves the building. Then, I see one coworker still sitting at her desk with no worries at all.

I confront her.

Me: “Leave your desk and evacuate the building. Don’t you hear the fire alarm?!”

Coworker: “Um, I wasn’t informed of this! I have work to do!”

She is not responsible for evacuation, so she would not have received an email anyway, and not receiving an email would mean it’s for real!

Me: “Seriously? This is not an exercise; this is for real! Leave now!

Coworker: No! I have work to do! Leave me alone!”

I don’t want to risk my life for this.

Me: “Look. Either you leave now by walking to the exit, or I drag you outside! Your choice!”

I yelled and must have had an extremely angry face and attitude, because she finally got up, took her purse, and started walking to the exit.

Finally, we reached the area where we had to go in case of evacuation. Everybody had already realised that two people were missing and were relieved to see us.

The person who was overseeing the evacuation asked me what had taken me so long, and I explained what had happened.

Meanwhile, I heard the coworker complaining that I had made her leave her desk while she had important stuff to do and that she was going to Human Resources with this. Everybody looked at her in disbelief.

The supervisor made a report to her boss, and I never heard from HR, but she got fired a month later.

No Jokes Here, Just An Important Lesson

, , , , , , | Related | December 17, 2022

I live with my mother, though we’re more like roommates. I pay the gas and electric bills while she pays the rest of the bills. My stepdad sleeps in a different house that we also own to keep it from seeming to be abandoned while we save up money to renovate it.

One morning in early December, I get up and am much more groggy than usual. I stumble out of my room to go to the bathroom, and I see my stepdad look up. He’s over by the stove and frantic.

Stepdad: “Are you okay?!”

Me: “I’m tired. I need to use the bathroom.”

Stepdad: “No, get your cat and go outside! Now!”

I am very confused, but I do what he says. I go back, grab my cat, and wander out of the house after slipping some shoes on. My stepdad comes back out a few minutes later with my groggy mother, the other cats, and the dog.

Stepdad: “The entire house was filled with gas! There was so much in there that you could see it! Are you both okay?!”

Now I begin to panic.

Me: “What?! How did that happen? Do we have a gas leak?”

Stepdad: “No, the stovetop was turned on, but it didn’t have a flame in it! The entire house was pumped with gas all night! Who left the stove on?!”

Mom: “Oh. I did that.”

Me: “…you did what?”

Mom: “I turned the flame on low to add some heat to the house last night. Something must have blown it out.”

I can’t tell who is angrier at this: me or my stepdad.

Me: “What the h***? Why would you do that?!”

Mom: “Well, it was cold, and the heater has been acting weird, so I didn’t want to turn it on.”

Me: “If [Stepdad] hadn’t gotten here in time, we could have died! No, listen to me. I pay the gas bill, and I say no more turning a burner on at night! Ever!

Mom: “Well, what am I supposed to do when it gets cold?”

Me: “Put on a pair of socks! Wear an extra pair of PJ bottoms! Wear something with sleeves! Throw another blanket on your bed! You have a large, warm dog who sleeps with you; snuggle her!

We later figured out that the reason we both made it through okay was that I sleep with my head next to the window that I keep cracked open in the winter, because I need a VERY cold room to be able to sleep well, and one of the windows in mom’s room has a chunk of glass missing. We both had a good supply of fresh air, as did the animals who sleep with us.

Mom doesn’t pull this anymore.

I Have A Sinking Feeling About This, Part 5

, , , , | Right | December 14, 2022

I work as a lifeguard at an outdoor facility. I am watching the diving board when a timid albeit confident girl walks to the end of the board. It seems like she stands on the end of the board for longer than a normal amount of time.

Me: “Hey, can you swim?”

Guest: “This a pool, ain’t it?”

How can you argue with that sound logic? Unsurprisingly, I have to dive in to save her while she sits at the bottom of the pool.

After getting her out and making sure she’s okay:

Me: “Why did you jump even though you knew you couldn’t swim?”

Guest: “I just thought I would figure it out once I got in.”

Related:
I Have A Sinking Feeling About This, Part 4
I Have A Sinking Feeling About This, Part 3
I Have A Sinking Feeling About This, Part 2
I Have A Sinking Feeling About This