In Defense of Fire Alarms

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You can spark it up, and I'ma put you out... or at least figure out how to do so by simulating the situation with a drill... (Those are the lyrics, right?)

It’s been a while since a Bwogger defended something in a constructive and articulate manner, so to make up for that, we present to you faithful reader the following piece of writing. Our staff Drills and Practice Scenario Expert (read: not a real title) Sylvie Krekow goes out on a limb and defends something you’ll probably hate her for…

Fire alarms suck; this is a commonly accepted fact in the life of a Columbian. Besides the obvious argument that they “save one’s life” in the case of an actual fire or whatever, most of the time they’re obnoxious alarms that interrupt a person at the most inconvenient times. Who wants to crawl out of their cozy school-issued twin extra long bed at 7 am to accommodate the administration’s fire planning? Or walk down 12 flights of stairs (no elevators, duh) into the freezing rain in your embarrassing flannel pajamas? Absofuckinglutely no one. But the next time you’re roused out of your room thanks to a fire drill, you can at least look forward to a few bright spots in what is otherwise a miserable experience.

Once you get over the fact that you’re annoyed and probably underdressed, you’ll notice some pretty funny sights amongst the rest of your building’s residents who’re also waiting for the horror of it all to be over. Depending on the time of day–or night–there will be people in towels, people wearing t-shirts with funny cats on them that they wouldn’t normally dare don in public, and bleary-eyed couples in various states of undress (particularly prevalent during a Carman fire alarm, circa 3 am on a Thursday).

Sometimes, fire alarms are actually timed to your benefit, because they wake you up earlier than you’d planned to—but not so early that it would be a painful experience. This lets you to start your day a little sooner and maybe put up that posting on Courseworks for your 11 am class that you’d been planning to blow off before the alarm so helpfully woke you up. Say thanks to the alarm. Moving on…

Fire drills are also a great way to find out how much your roommate cares about your life. If she or he wakes you up and makes sure you get out of the room, you can be pretty sure that not only are you a non-food stealing/constantly sexiling/obnoxiously loud music-playing roommate—you’re probably a pretty good person. If, on the other hand, he or she lets you slumber through the shrill screams of the alarm, you should probably either take a close look at your shared-living habits or find another roommate.

And when you (and your hopefully beloved roommate whom you have so considerately awoken) finally make it out of the building, at the very least, you will probably glimpse some of New York’s finest: its firefighters. They’re a pretty attractive bunch under normal circumstances, but under the circumstances of bleary-eyed confusion that fire drills afford, they somehow look like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp’s lovechild.  With bigger muscles.

So the next time you hear a fire alarm go off, even if you know it’s a drill, don’t despair: you have floormates to see, work to do, a cherished roommate to wake up, and a fireman (or firewoman!) to wink at.

Gratuitous Lil Wayne image via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Anonymous  

    to the author: curious as to how you know so much about 3 am Carman fire drills since you apparently go to barnard. does this mean you were part of one "bleary-eyed couple"or was carman conveniently on your way to barnard campus at 3 am?

  2. Anonymous  

    there's nothing wrong with making a reference to Barnard housing procedures, either. I think there's value to at least mentioning the other school beyond simply being politically correct, particularly when it reflects the author's own situation

  3. Anonymous  

    Weezy F. Baby.

  4. Missed conditional  

    What about if your roommate wakes up, looks at you dead asleep to the world, puts his ipod in and his pillow over his head and goes back to sleep?


  5. yo

    Why do we actually need fire drills? I lived off campus this year and never had one. Seriously, if a fire alarm went off in that building, I would scram. But these random fire drills and sensitive alarms... just told me to stay in bed when I was back in the dorms.

  6. GuerrillaWarfare  

    Aside from giving me a chance to see my neighbors in the pj (which is something I actively try to avoid for the most part) I feel that fire alarms will end up doing more harm than good. I remember freshman year in John Jay trying to scramble out of the building as quickly as possible for the fire alarms, until I realized that they happen every month. Plus all those times a douche decides to pull it for shits and giggles. Now whenever I hear the firealarm I put a pillow over my head and go back to sleep, or I go enjoy having the bathroom all to myself. Once a real fire happens I'm probably screwed, because if Columbia has taught me anything its that fire alarms don't mean jack.

  7. Anonymous


  8. EC resident

    Fuck no. The alarms circa 3 AM suck. There is no excuse for them. And none of the firemen who come into EC are attractive.

    They suck even worse if you thought you were lucky and picked into the 20th floor.

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