The other day Jazzy and I came home to discover a shitload of fire trucks and ambulances parked in front of our building, lights flashing and emergency personnel moving about. It appeared to be a very dramatic situation. I mean shit… who wants to come home to that? Did someone die? Is there a fire?
I also wondered if a kid pulled the fire alarm… again. This will be the forth time in two years that a fleet of emergency vehicles took up space in front of my building. On only one occasion was there actually a fire. In that case, it was the elevator motor on the roof that started smoking.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night, alarms sounding, and me wondering if this was really real. I smelled smoke, but only faintly, and it could have been my imagination. I stood in the middle of the living room, in my underwear, surveying my possessions and deciding what I would take downstairs with me, if it really was, really real. It’s kind of an odd head space to occupy, deciding which among all your shit deserves saving, and more importantly, which may be sacrificed so that other shit may live. I got dressed, grabbed my laptop and my purse (calling it a man bag seems so… insecure) and headed downstairs. The problem was resolved within an hour and I hung out in the lobby with my neighbors, bonding over how inconvenient this all was. Why can’t fires happen during the day?
So… back to the other day. I walked into the building and saw a fireman, arms crossed, jacket off, staring at the closed elevator doors in the lobby. This was clearly an example for what to do in an emergency when someone is stuck in an elevator and you haven’t the foggiest idea for how to free him. Apparently one of my neighbors was dancing in the elevator and its sensors detected erratic movement and shut down as an emergency precaution.
There’s an emergency phone inside the elevator that connects directly to Otis, the elevator company responsible for the maintenance of the elevators. In such situations, the Otis man shows up, reads the elevator’s sensor log, and fixes the problem. Calling 911 is the wrong thing to do. Calling 911 then calling your dad, who also calls 911, who tells his wife, who proceeds to call 911 just to be sure, is exactly the wrong, most definitely, completely stupid thing to do. In such cases, fire trucks and ambulances rush in, in dramatic fashion, stop, catch their breath… and phone the Otis man.
They then take off their jackets, cross their arms and stare at the elevator doors until someone tells them they can leave.