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False Alarm Fire

January 11, 2011

Good morning! We had a little excitement last night here in Bethesda. Well, less excitement and more ‘do I really have to get off my couch for this?’

The building fire alarm began ringing around 9:30 and memo to apartment building owners: be sure that the main fire alarm is loud enough to be heard inside units, not just in the hall. I was sitting close to the front door and it was more like a tinny annoyance instead of an urgent ‘get out! get out!’ alarm.

I didn’t want to be that girl — you know, the one whipping out her camera while the firefighters are doing their job — so I only snapped one photo with my iPhone. Everyone was standing in the lobby and complaining that the fire brigade hadn’t arrived yet despite a station literally two blocks down the street when whoosh, multiple trucks pulled up with sirens screaming and a dozen handsome (and a couple not-so-handsome) firemen came storming inside carrying hoses, axes and a bayonet-looking thing.

Using my journalism skills (aka eavesdropping), I learned that someone had started a trash fire on the 2nd floor and in a panic, threw the flaming bag of trash outside. I can understand the reasoning behind wanting to get the bag o’ fire out of the house as quickly as possible but… really?

Thankfully there was no real fire, nothing was damaged and no one had to wait in the cold as we all stood in the lobby. I was also happy that this happened before bedtime so I was wearing sweats instead of a one-piece pink pajama set like the girl my age sitting across the lobby.

Confession: I was actually wearing shorts and a t-shirt when the fire alarm began ringing but changed clothes before heading downstairs. No smoke? There’s totally time to put on a different outfit. 😉

My purse contained two very important items: laptop and camera. If the building is going up in flames, these two things had better be in my possession.

Once we got the all-clear, I started thinking about what I should take in case of a real fire. After all, a laptop and camera can be replaced — although they are clearly on the ‘must grab’ list — but other items both valuable and sentimental can’t.

Pearls received as a college graduation gift? Totally going in the fire bag.

Just as important: my childhood stuffed animal, Bear. Like his cousin Smokey, Bear hates fire.

What wouldn’t I grab? Photos. The biggest benefit to the digital age is that all of the pictures in my apartment are prints from digital copies. There’s little else in the apartment that can’t be replaced so as long as the laptop, camera, pearls and Bear are in my bag, everything else is just stuff.

What would you grab in case of a fire? Have you ever been in a fire? I liked Kate‘s advice to bring a snack!

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 8:48 am

    Hilarious that someone threw a flaming bag outside–what an odd thing to do! I would take my Blackberry, laptop, wedding album, special jewelry from my parents, and, of course, my husband!

  2. January 11, 2011 9:57 am

    I’d grab my ferrets and rats–not about to let those guys endure that, or leave me! I’d grab my laptop annnnd I think that’s it. Slip on boots and a coat, too!

  3. January 11, 2011 10:39 am

    My dog!

  4. January 11, 2011 10:45 am

    all my old diaries from middle school!

  5. January 11, 2011 12:36 pm

    I’m grabbing my kitties and my photos albums. Nothing else matters in a fire. It’s all replaceable. But those things aren’t!

  6. January 11, 2011 1:18 pm

    I’m glad it was just a false alarm! Same (similar) thing happened to me in my old apartment buiding. I felt the front door and didn’t feel heat or smell smoke, so I put on jeans and a sweatshirt, grabbed a beer from the fridge, and met some neigbhors at 11 PM.

  7. January 11, 2011 2:52 pm

    Great question! I thought about this a lot as a kid, and my answer has changed a lot throughout the years. Currently, I would take my purse, dogs, and wedding album. Then I’d cross my fingers that my fire proof document box lived up to it’s name. Oh, and I’m with you on the ‘when there’s no smoke, there’s time to change” rule. : )

  8. January 11, 2011 3:30 pm

    I am happy there was no serious fire. But DUH!

    Photos are the only thing I am concerened about. I would grab my external harddrive, wedding rings, and cat.

  9. January 11, 2011 3:32 pm

    Haha! I love that you changed. We’d be such a sight getting ready to evacuate, me grabbing some eats and you throwing on a cute outfit! Im glad it wasnt anything serious!

  10. January 11, 2011 7:17 pm

    My net book and camera, prolly my cell. Everything else I can live w/o! I love that you were live tweeting the fire 🙂

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