So we had an emergency action drill today. A fire marshall with a thick New York accent and an even thicker white moustache gathered us by our respectively designated exits and handed out instruction sheets. At the top of the sheet were the various emergencies we were preparing for:
• chemical release
• natural disaster
@$#%$%&^$? This is a drill for nuclear disaster? Don’t you think if a nuclear bomb hit midtown Manhattan, our only viable emergency action would be to pray?
Anyway, so the gentleman gives us a series of instructions that sound increasingly dire. Like, if you suffer a chronic disease like diabetes of heart illness, make sure to keep three days worth of medications in your office just in case we’re locked down for that long. “And check the expiration dates,” he says, which sounds like a good idea even in the case of non-emergency ingestion.
He tells us ladies who wear high heels to keep a pair of sneakers on hand, then launches into a story about how the women who escaped the World Trade Center “fell behind” and a colleague had to buy out a sneaker store so they could continue. Women. Always in need of rescue.
But it’s the Q&A session that really gets me worried. Sheila, our office manager, mentions that we don’t have a specifically designated place we’re supposed to evacuate to. Malik points out that the door knob on our emergency exit is broken. Deirdre asks about a fire tower, and Mr. Moustache says they can prove to be faulty exits (while I’m thinking, what’s a fire tower?). Mr. M. says the first thing would be to call the fire director, but Josh notices that the list of emergency phone numbers posted by the exit doesn’t actually include the fire director’s.
So here’s my emergency action plan. I’m going to work from home. I figure, in case of nuclear attack on New York, I’m toast anyway. If there’s a blackout, I prefer not to hoof it 100 blocks to the bridge, like I did in 2003. My snack drawer may sustain me for a day in case we have to “shelter in place,” but one tires of Triscuits and raisins. And a nutjob is much likelier to target my building smack-dab in the very epicenter of Manhattan than he is my little house in New Jersey. No one ever sent any anthrax to Leonia.