Friday, April 08, 2005
I wonder if fire escapes are intentionally designed to be narrow and have steps too short and steep for anyone to actually step on, while allegedly designed to save lives of those in a burning building. I wonder if the level of difficulty to escape through these fire escapes is invertly proportional to the nature of the building. For example, our fire escape is so narrow and steep that tripping over a step can send you head-first ito the wall right before you. Was it not foreseen that because the building was situated in the center of a business district, without them little rooms and studios but open floor layouts, that it would most likely be an office and therefore people (females in particular) inhabiting them would be in heels and probably skirts (short and pencil cut, for those in uniform). What about those offices that go beyond 20 or 30 floors? What do their fire escapes look like? I've seen some with mere unfolding steel stairs and I am thankful that though our office is old, at least the dangerous descent is made of concrete. But still quite unthankful for the abovementioned narrowness and steepness.
I wonder how many people could actually be saved by the fire escape. Is there a study that such fire escape design could actually even save lives? I went through a fire drill the other day and by the looks of the experience, we would've died. It took me, with careful and precise navigation on my gold stilletos, more than 30 minutes to get down from the 9th floor. Traffic within the concrete funnel was at a stand-still, with people from the lower floors squeezing themselves in step by measly step. We would all have been left deaf by the merciless ringing of the fire alarm then burnt to the bone (possibly by raging flames brought by people trying to squeeze into the concrete shaft) by the time we reached the 5th floor. Also, don't forget the actual danger of traversing the fire escape. If you wouldn't be found toasted dead or with third-degree burns in your cubicle, you'd be found paralyzed and trampled on (probably with heel marks) due to a severed neck, massive head trauma or just plain broken bones in the fire escape.
The fire drill also had this program where they taught you some basic first aid after the companies in the building have assembled. Bah. I considered myself dead on the scene. I slipped into back exit of the building beside ours, made my way to the main street through their lobby, and into a coffee shop. Ah, alive again.
dezphaire strapped in @ 9:30 AM
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