How many times does the fire alarm go off in your library? We’re running about once every six-eight months.
It’s the break room, you know. We’ve burned up something in the microwave, in the toaster, in the oven, and on the stove top. We’ve burned soup, popcorn, toast, leftovers, and cheese. No one has ever been danger. There was never a flame. Just smoke… lots and lots of smoke. And yes, where there’s smoke, there’s a fire alarm.
There’s a pad at the back of the building that has a code to be entered. But wait, we can’t key in the code until we push the button on the red box in the foyer. Or is it two buttons? No, we can’t push the buttons until we get the smoke out of the building. Are there patrons in the building? That’s right, ask the patrons to leave. That is, if they can hear us over the alarm. Oh, don’t forget, we have to call the fire alarm company (not the fire dept) to tell them it’s a false alarm. That is, if they can hear us over the alarm. Oops, they’ve changed the number. Can you direct us to the right number? Nope. Call this 800 number. Did I mention that the alarm is still sounding.
So, we prop open the back door in the break room and fan out the smoke. Fred, volunteer fireman, lives behind the library and usually cuts through the building on his way to the fire department in an emergency. On these days, if we’re open, he cuts through, waves and says he’ll be right back. Then he, and a few others walk across our street (in full regalia) to see what’s up. Nice to have them all nearby.
The smoke is gone, the red box button is pushed (it is only one now, it used to be two), the code is entered, the firemen have walk around (God bless ’em, they are always patient). We’re all clear. The patrons are invited back in. We’re back in business.
Whew. Got through another one.