No, this isn't a time-optimization of a certain song (which I happen to like, but I've pretty much always liked Madonna's music). Three minutes is the amount of time it takes for me to go from a dead sleep to out of my apartment with a bag of essentials when a whole-building fire alarm goes off at three in the morning.

I appear to be going through potential disasters this year. Tornadoes, flooding, now (potential) fire. Fortunately, it was a false alarm–a "pressure surge in the water delivery system indicated it was in use and therefore activated the alarm". What I found fascinating was the complete lack of response of this fire alarm. There are over 400 people in that buildings but only about 40-50 actually left the building. Probably about 30 left via car. Another 40 or so remained in the stairwell, despite the known problems of panic in stairwells causing death, but apparently they felt it was perfectly fine to stay there instead of leaving a building that potentially was on fire. Not as bad as the people still in their apartments looking out at all the people outside. I mean, they were rubbernecking from inside the building that has an active fire alarm.

And those are the people who complain the most if they get hurt or injured in case it was actually a fire.

Another interesting thing was that only one person I saw actually saved their cat. Of course, it looks like most people didn't bother leaving the building, so they may have had their cats in the stairwell with them, but it just reminds me of the thousands of animals just abandoned during the flood. As I mentioned before, I take a serious effort to take care of my animals. I don't abandon them because it is inconvenient or put them to sleep when they cause problem. No, I visit them at my in-laws twice a week (well, the best I can, car troubles not withstanding), despite the over hour driving just to do so. So, when I see that people just left their animals in a building that might be on fire, that just saddens me.

2008-09-15