Friday, September 11, 2009

I got yer Day of Service right here, pal

Do they really think they can paper over the memory of 9/11 with this nonsense? Cover over blood and fire and death by cleaning up a park or serving soup to the homeless? I have great faith in New Yorkers, who can carry a grudge to the moon and back. Who probably still have particles of their carbonized friends in their lungs. They won't forget what this day really is.

And why couldn't the "service" be appropriate to the day? Why not make this a day to go to fire and police departments and volunteer, or even bring them cookies and thank-you cards? Why not set aside the day to learn first aid? Learn hand-to-hand fighting techniques? Something USEFUL?

I, Snarkatron, hereby declare this day, in addition to 9/11 Remembrance Day, to be "I Am Not a Goddam Helpless Target Day". If you work in a tall office building, like I do, learn your surroundings.

- "The nearest exit may be behind you" is not just for airplanes. Do you know where *all* the stairwells are, and where they exit? How about the freight elevator?
- Do you know where the fire extinguishers are, and the first aid kit? Is that kit stocked, or have successive paper cut incidents emptied it?
- If you have to get out of Dodge, what are the best routes and where do you want to regroup? If there are crowds/falling debris/flame outside on the street, is there any way to get around this? (The building I work in has several clever tunnels that connect to neighboring buildings. Plus, the Seattle Metro has a handy, quite deep transit tunnel that can get a large number of people away from the city center.)
- Are there people in your office with mobility issues? Our fire and safety training covers how to carry such people down stairs in a chair, for example.
-If stairs are damaged, do you know where the strong points are? (Hint: Where the stairs connect to the wall is usually the strongest point.)
-If you are a Slave to Fashion and wear wobbly high heels, do you have some cheap fold-up slippers in a desk drawer you could wear just in case you have to run for your life at top speed?

It isn't comfortable to think about these things. Most people would rather not. But thinking about them NOW, when you aren't on fire, will make it easier when you have no choice but to think about them. Or die.


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