Sunday, June 21, 2009

the alarm who cried wolf

does anyone ever really pay attention to alarms anymore? i'm not talking about alarms you wake up to, i'm talking about fire alarms, car alarms, etc. i feel like we're all so used to false alarms, that our immediate reaction is to do nothing. a fire alarm has gone off in my building a few times since i've lived here. i react in this order:

1) hear the alarm, think about how annoying it is.
2) if the alarm has gone on for more than a few minutes, look out the peephole to see if anyone else is fleeing
3) if no one is fleeing, continue as i was

one time, about a month after i moved to this building, i smelled smoke. it was strong enough that i did about three thorough checks in my apartment to make sure it was nothing of mine that had burst into flames. i looked out the peephole, and things looked foggy, like maybe my peephole was dirty, but no one seemed to be fleeing. a few minutes later, the firetruck came. when i opened the door, the "dirty peephole" actually turned out to be smoke filled halls. the firemen were giving the all clear, so i went back into my abode. i later found out that the people in the apartment directly below me had fallen asleep after putting boiling water on the stove. the alarm never went off in this situation.

anyway, i was reminded of this because i was changing me clothes at the gym today and an alarm went off in the girls' locker room. there were three others in the locker room with me and i heard someone in one of the showers. no one flinched or made any effort to vacate. not even i. and when you think about how often car alarms go off at the slam of a door, or when a motorcycle drives past...does anybody actually react when a car is actually being stolen? are these alarms, for the most part useless...or should we all start reacting like it's the real thing every time?

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