I’m not sure about anyone else but in elementary through high school, I liked having fire or tornado drills. Sometimes I wished that I lived in 60’s California so I could also do earthquake and nuclear attack drills. I had no love for the drills themselves. What was so good about them, though, was that they broke the daily monotony of school. It was a distraction – 10 minutes away from boring spelling class or brain numbing physics.
Sure it’s not about fun and games, after all, I’ve been in a real fire situation before and it was not pretty. When I was in the Philippines, I was enrolled at Beehive Learning Center which was near downtown so it was close to other buildings. One day, the building next door caught on fire. The place was lacked a fire alarm. Instead, the principal (I can’t remember if she was actually called that) ran down the hallway shouting for everyone to get out. Despite the efforts to keep us calm and controlled, once we made it downstairs, it was a free for all dash to the gates. To the best of my recollection, once I was out of there, no one head counted me or ushered me to some holding location. What I do remember is going into a bank where I had a nice lady try to call the Air Base so that my father could pick me up. She couldn’t get through so she had to call my nanay who sent our maid. Even then, I thought that it was ridiculous that they would tell me to stay put since I walked to her house from my school all the time (something that I would never let my 2nd grade kid ever do – at least no there).
However, when you know that the “emergency” isn’t really a drill, it does have a degree of fun and excitement to it. That changed when I got to college where I absolutely hated drills with a passion. They were disruptive to my non-monotonous college life. You want me to haul myself downstairs in my shorts to brave freezing weather and three feet of snow? Frak that. If it wasn’t for the room check, I’d probably would have shrugged it off.
Now that I’ve reentered monotonous life in the form of an actual job—I like it when alarms go off for bogus reasons. (We don’t do actual drills.) So when some contractor set off the alarms it was an opportunity to enjoy the weather for a good half hour while the fire department came. It was one of those situations where all production took a halt so we didn’t have to play catch up when we got back in. I look forward to another one.