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Tag: fire safety

Alarm drama

One of the oh so fun things I missed blogging about this summer was our freaking fire alarm. If you follow me on twitter you know that our fire alarm has been on the fritz most of the summer. It’s been incredibly frustrating. It started at the end of June.

The first time was around midnight. I was still up watching Netflix and Joel had dozed off on the couch. When the alarm went off I sprang into action, as any good flight attendant would. I quickly did a mental assessment of the most important things in our life and grabbed the laptop, DSLR camera and of course Phoebe and the bird. Joel must have really been tired because in the seven seconds it took me to scoop up the laptop and camera he still hadn’t stirred.

I kind of yelled, “Joel, the fire alarm is going off, get up and grab the dog.” I don’t think it was unreasonable for me to yell at this point since the fire alarm is loud and he hadn’t so much as twitched.

Joel (my hero) jumped off the couch and turned off the tv… because obviously that was what was making that awful noise and disturbing his sleep.

“Joel, it’s the fire alarm. We need to go outside, grab the dog.”

He groggily stumbled over towards the door and grabbed… not the keys, not the dog’s leash, not his wallet… nope, he grabbed….

His sunglasses.

And proceeded to put them on.

Remember, it’s about midnight. Not too many solar flares going on in this part of the world at that time.

I put down the laptop and grabbed the leash, put it on the dog and handed it to Joel. I reminded him that it was midnight and sunglasses were probably not needed. I doubted the fire was going to be that bright.

He finally snapped out of it and we made our way out of the building and waited outside until the fire department came and gave us the all clear.

Poor dude doesn’t wake up quickly, especially when he’s really tired.

The fire department sent three trucks and an ambulance. I think just about everyone in our building (and two adjoining buildings) came out for it. There was one lady who kept asking if anyone knew if it was a real fire because if it was she needed to go back in for her cat. Obviously none of us knew but I hope she got a travel case for it after that, just in case.

That was the first time.

It went off no less than fourteen times over the course of two months.

Just think about that.

By the end almost no one came outside. The fire department eventually only sent one lonely little fire truck and two firefighters. Even I told Joel to call me if it was a real fire. He went out every time and waited. He heard the firefighters voice how sick they were of our place. Greaaaaaat. Just what you want to hear from the people who will potentially have your life in their hands.

After about a million frustrated calls to management and more than three months they finally replaced the alarm board in our buildings today. A couple guys came into the apartment and replaced something about the smoke detector. I learned that the whole building alarm doesn’t just sound for smoke in one apartment. Smoke will only set off the individual smoke detector. It also has a heat detector that has to get hot enough before it sets off the whole building alarm. Kind of makes sense but it’s also a little scary to think how bad a fire would have to be to make it hot enough for our alarm to go off.

He also told me a story of an old apartment building that had no working alarm at all. Management changed and they had these guys in on a Thursday to fix the alarm. That following Sunday the whole place burned to the ground. Everyone got out except the guy whose cooking started the fire. The only call the fire department got was the building alarm, no 911 calls at all. If the building alarm hadn’t been functional everyone probably would have died because it was at 2am.


It makes me so glad that the building alarm is fixed. The fire department got so frustrated with the false alarms that they turned it off completely. Our smoke detectors still worked but the fire department would only have been called if someone actually dialed 911.

I’m hoping this is the end of our alarm drama. You better believe that next time the alarm goes off I won’t be pulling my pillow over my head and waiting for Joel to call me if it’s real. Their stories were enough for me to realize the inconvenience of standing outside for 10 minutes for a false alarm far outweighs the consequences if I ignore it and it’s actually real.

But let’s hope we don’t have to deal with any fire alarms anymore, false or not because having to put on a bra and shoes at 3am is just plain annoying.

No lie

The other day I was getting ready to leave the house. I was searching for a pair of my pants and couldn’t seem to find them anywhere. You’d think it would be strange for me to have a hard time finding a pair of pants but unfortunately it’s a fairly common occurrence around my house.

See, right now my clothing situation is a bit of a disaster. I have plenty of clothes (Joel says too many, I say he’s crazy, you can never have too many clothes) but when we moved we went from a big beautiful walk-in closet to a normal sized regular closet. Waaaah! Sad right?

So, since we moved in July I’ve never quite gotten a handle on getting all my clothes organized and put away because I simply don’t have enough room for them all anymore. This means I often have piles of clothes all over my bedroom and sometimes the living room depending on if I’ve recently done laundry or not.

We were running slightly behind schedule (per usual) so I was getting a bit frantic searching for my missing pants. I had Joel looking as well and neither of us could find the stupid pair of pants anywhere. Not long ago I packed away all my summer clothes so in a moment of desperation I started digging through that box. I pulled out a rather large pile of stuff when suddenly Joel yelled that he found them. They were hanging in the closet. Go figure.

I grabbed them and ran into the other room to finish getting ready. I asked Joel if he’d please pick up that pile that I had just pulled out really fast so my packed away clothes didn’t get mixed up with the other piles in the room. He mumbled something that I assumed was an unenthusiastic yes and I didn’t think anything else of it.

We got out of the house mostly on time, went about our day and got home late that night. We began getting ready for bed when we started smelling the heater. It was a very sharp, hot, almost chemical smell. We have the kind of heaters that are low on the wall and heat up with water. I want to say they’re radiators but I’m not really an expert on that sort of thing. Anyway, they do get very hot. So hot in fact we often have to open windows sometimes so it stops feeling like a tropical rain forest. There’s not really a happy medium, they’re either set at sweltering or off.

We’re really careful to keep things away from the edges but the smell kept getting worse so Joel got down with a flashlight to see if he could find anything. He found a rubber band that had fallen into one of them but it didn’t seem to be hot or melted or what was causing the smell. To be safe we just turned the heat off and went to bed.

The next morning we got up and began to get ready. We still had the heat off from the night before. Weirdly we began smelling that same smell again. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when suddenly Joel ran in from the bedroom shouting about how he found where the smell was coming from with a smoking pile of clothes. He had been standing in the bedroom when all of the sudden he noticed little puffs of smoke coming from that pile of clothes I’d asked him to clean up.

Needless to say what I thought was a mumbled yes was really just a mumble about how he didn’t want to clean up my clothes. And he didn’t. What we both didn’t realize is the pile went high enough that a couple things were resting on the light bulb of an Ikea lamp in our room.

Apparently, those light bulbs get extremely hot.

Especially when covered in clothes.

Hot enough that this happened.

In case you can’t tell that’s what use to be two of my suits.

It burned a hole fully through five layers of suit material.

Here is the light bulb of doom.

See, normally this lamp would have had a fancy light shade over it. But we just replaced the burnt out bulbs and hadn’t gotten around to putting the shade back on.

Thankfully nothing more was hurt than a couple of suits I don’t ever wear anymore. I’m a little sad because one was the suit I got hired by my airline in. ::sniff:: However, I realize things could be much worse. I only just moved the dried flowers that had been sitting there a few days ago. We’re the kind of people who obsessively turn lights off when we leave a room. Had we left the house with that light on like that we might have come home to no house at all.

But no one was hurt so now it’s just a ridiculous story I get to tell.

Also? I had to get rid of some of the “too many” clothes Joel says I have. He says he definitely did not set fire to my clothes on purpose just so I’d get rid of some. But what’s that saying again?

Liar, liar, pants on…..

I’ll let you be the judge.

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