Signals and sirens and smoke, oh my!

Let me tell you, there's never a dull moment around here! This morning, my morning to sleep in, I was awoken from a dead sleep to a blaring fire alarm--screaming at me to GETOUTOFBEDANDOUTTHEBUILDING.


First, let me preface this by saying: my school is in the middle of redoing their fire escape plans for my dormitory, which is 12 stories tall (I'm on the 5th). The only way to get outside in a fire is through ONE SMALL SPIRAL staircase, which is approximately one person deep. It's scary enough to walk down that thing when you're not in a hurry, much less in a crowd of 750+ students rushing down to get out of a fire.

But anyway. Bright and early this morning, the alarm goes off. At first I think it's my clock alarm telling me it's time to get up, but I realize pretty quickly with the flashing lights that it's something different. Without even thinking, I'm immediately up and out of bed, and so are my roommates. For a brief second, we all look at each other and wonder, "Is this real?" but then we realized, uh, YEAH, this is real.

The next few seconds were a haze of grabbing my ID and room keys--thank GOD I remembered those, I wouldn't have been able to get back into my building without them--cell phone, and tugging on shoes and a sweater. My room is most always hot, so I was sleeping in an oversized t-shirt and Soffe's (short shorts), but I somehow had enough presence of mind to realize well, it's not going to be so hot outside that I needed something warmer.

After that, I took a last fleeting glance at my dorm room and all of my stuff, hoping that I'd get to see it again all in one piece. And then we started flying down the stairs.

In the stairwell the sound was murderous. Hundreds of students pounding downstairs as fast as they could. I got swept up in it, separated from my roommates, just trying to make it outside and not knowing where, if there was one, the fire was. I think I made it down 5 full flights of stairs in about 2 minutes without even thinking about it. I wasn't even out of breath. Adrenaline had REALLY kicked in and I felt like I could lift cars up and walk across buildings in a single bound--but first I needed to get outside.

Which I did. My dorm is across from a very large and well-known park/common area, and that's where we have to evacuate to. So we did. 750+ students, shivering in their pajamas, wondering what was happening. I reunited with my roommates and we just waited. Within what seemed like a minute (but was probably longer), two fire trucks arrived. I couldn't see much but I took a picture with my cell phone and was texting my parents and D, letting them know what was going on. A bit after that, everything was cleared and we were allowed to go back inside. Up 5 flights of stairs again, but I hardly felt anything. The adrenaline was still pulsing through my body. It was the weirdest, most empowering feeling.

So now I'm back in my room, wide awake. My roommate pointed out that today is Sept. 11--how weird is that? I'll answer. Very, very weird.

And all, as it turns out, because Dunkin' Donuts (which is at the bottom of my dorm building) burned some pastries downstairs.


Monica H said...

I have had dreams on more than one occasion (in fact at least a dozen times) where I am racing down a stairwell. Weird, indeed.

And I am so jealous you got to shiver. I sweat just walking outside today :-(

The Nanny said...

Well, I love the heat and I hate being cold in the morning. I'm in the wrong place, huh? :-)

P.S. Is Ike going to affect you? I'm kind of distantly watching it through CNN going oh my gosh, what's going on down there???