I’m a fire hazard.

Fire drills are analogous to dentist’s drills only a little more painful while adding loudhailers. That is unless you frequent a particularly old school dentist who’s dispensed with an expensive raft of tools and training supplanting them instead with shouting and pliers.

The insistent peeling of the alarm bell failed to trigger a headlong rush for the stairs because everyone knows it’s a drill. The fire marshals (basically exactly the same kind of people who feel they have unique and valuable skills suited to the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Watch) herded us exitwards grumbling as we naughty sheep finished e-mails, coffees and a sharp expose of the national Cricket team’s shortcomings.

One of the hidden benefits of being housed on the top floor of the building is the likely chance of being charred to a business casual crisp as the lower six floors disgorge onto the fire stairs. Today our future identification by dental records was further confirmed with a peopled backdraft swelling the stairs to the denseness of an illegal gathering and stopping the evacuation stone dead. Which describes perfectly our mortal state had it been a proper fire due entirely to the incident team” forgetting to open the fire doors. So a thousand soon to be crispy employees were funnelled through two tiny exit cubicles while the large exits specifically designed for keeping you alive remained locked hard shut.

Had it been a real fire, the Dunkirk spirit that bound together the stationary pre-charred on the stairs would have rapidly given way to get the hell out of my way, I’m WAY more important than you“. Colleagues would have been kicked to the ground and trampled over with high heal shoes and custom made brogues. Fairly similar to our traditional meeting etiquette except without anyone taking minutes to persecute the innocent at some later date.

Finally arriving outside some ten minutes later, a high-viz jacketed “ crazed with power “ excitedly shouted through a loudhailer Please keep to the pavement, there is vehicular activity on the road“. Firstly what kind of idiot behaviour enunciates vehicular” when in possession of the jobsworth megaphone and secondly really, traffic on the ROAD? No Shit Sherlock, how have I survived so long without your laughable homage to the highway code

Building on their spectacular failure, the make sure everyone dies except us” fire team decided we weren’t worth counting, instead sending us back inside insisting we scanned back in. The security system then had a bit of a moment as it tried to reconcile people signing back in who hadn’t signed out. It’s gone for a little lie down and was last seen steaming and sending arrggh, eek, out of cheese error�? to the console.

We climbed seven flights of stairs rather than wait a couple of days for the lifts to become available. It took about a quarter of the time descending them had earlier. Kind of sums up the whole façade really.

Next time just let me burn at my desk, it’s not like I’m a fee earner or anything.

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