Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gotta Go

It's really hard to write this post.

Not because it's emotionally difficult.

Not because it's hard to find the right words.

But because it's really hard to write this post.

Here's why it's so hard:

Right now, right this second, I'm sitting at the computer with the fire alarm screaming throughout the apartment building. Only moments ago I was fast asleep, deep in dreamland, and was brought to life by the howling of the alarm. Joe and I sat up in bed, discombobulated, getting our bearings, taking a moment to figure out what the noise was all about.

Realizing that the fire alarm was going off, we both got up. As I passed by the door to the apartment, we are located right by the stairwell, I could hear people rushing down the hallway and into the stairwell. Our building is one that isn't plagued by non-sense fire alarms. We don't have pranksters pulling the alarms or drunken party-goers making stupid decisions. So, here, in this building the alarm is serious business.

We face a decision. Trying to get me down the stairs and out into the cold. This is doable, we've tried, but extremely difficult. Waiting until we are assisted by the fire squad. We know that we are on a list compiled by the building and kept secure in case of fire or other disaster, and we are promised that we will get assistance should assistance is necessary. But that's never been tested.

Joe has been out on the balcony, which is inaccessible to me, to check and see if he can see smoke anywhere. We can both see the lights of the firetruck flashing and reflecting on the windows of the building opposite. We know that the crew is here. Joe has just informed me that there is no smoke in the hallways, he called to me from the door where he is talking to someone who is fleeing the building.

We've decided that we need to try and get me down the stairs. The alarm's been on for a long while now.

Now I worry about falling going down the stairs, I worry about Joe having to get me and my chair down the stairs. Maybe a neighbour will help.


Liz said...

Thinking of you both and hoping that it's a false alarm

Deborah said...

Praying for you and Joe right now.

Dave Hingsburger said...

We are well and fine. The alarm went off just after we got dressed, got myself and my manual chair out into the hallway and locked the apartment door. I'm going back to bed!

clairesmum said...

Glad all ended ok. Scary time, though.

Deborah said...

So glad you are OK!

Anonymous said...

Be sure to review your plans based on the scare you just had - at least it could be good for something.

Glad you're okay.


Anonymous said...


oh my gosh. You brought me to tears with this post. I was so scared for you!

This is like one of my nightmares, where I am forced to run away or swim in cold water etc. I am unable to do this. I always fear to get into those situations and end uo being to weak to get out of them again...

A life of a friend (or another human) is so precious and so easy to end. Remaining calm is a very hard thing in this situations.

Well done Dave. I am going to send a little prayer to which deity will ever hear me and thank them for the false alarm and that I am able to stop to worry for now.

Please, what will you do next time? Did you get help? Can you feel a little safer? Or is everything going to happen just the same way?

A worried and feeling helpless

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Glad you're safe.

jayne Wales said...

Thank God.
a very dear lady in our village has died this weekend in a fire. I cannot go into detail as it was horrendous and no need to share it. What did upset me was she had refused to go and see the doctor about her fainting attacks, because the doctor was not a nice person. I agree I don't go and see her either. Once again people who have so much influence acting so badly.
Dave and Jo thank God you are safe. If we had heard something to the contrary it would have been unbearable. You must have been so scared.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are both safe. I agree that you need to revisit your emergency plans. At the very least the fire fighters should have made contact with you.

You've posted about the emergency stair devices. Perhaps you should get one. Besides the danger to you, trying to get you down the stairs surely wouldn't be good for Joe.

Thank goodness neither of you hurt yourself trying to deal with a false alarm, what if it had been real?


wheeliecrone said...

So now you know. You have a good idea how long it may take for emergency personnel to reach you in case of an emergency. You and Joe may wish to think about and discuss this. It's serious.

Anonymous said...

I echo the others relief that you are both ok BUT I have to question your sanity at accessing a computer and writing a blog "rightthis second" with the fire alarm screaming. Really??? With the possibility of fire, especially with extra needs, shouldn't all time and efforts be made to exit/prepare to exit?? What on earth were you doing on the computer??? Makes one wonder...

Maggie said...

Glad you're okay.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon, good question as to why I was on the computer. As I said, the alarm doesn't go off very often, however every time it has it's been a false alarm. Our practice is for Joe to check outside - on the balcony, to see if there is any smoke or if the firefighters have arrived. Then he checks the hallways and the stairwells to see if there is smoke. Usually, by then, the alarm has gone off. While he was doing those things I was quickly typing my blog. This time the alarm was still one and, as I was finishing writing, we were discussing if we should go down the stairs or if we should wait for assistance. We'd decided to leave just as I was finishing the blog post. I found writing about it while it was happening distracting.

Deb said...

When you're disabled this is a terrifying situation. Both of us can still get down a flight of stairs with much difficulty, but we have two cats we will not leave behind and their crates are very hard to manage.

For this reason we won't live above the second floor, and I prefer the first, but we couldn't find a walk out unit for sale when we were looking this time.

You *definitely* need to make firm plans with Emergency Services on how to get you out of your apt. in an emergency. There should be a team at your door as soon as any danger requiring evacuation is confirmed.

I'm so glad you two are safe. What a scare!

Mary said...

Being at the computer is possibly the most sensible thing to do. As well as keeping your mind off the panic, it asserts the sensation of being in touch with other people (eg not isolated or forgotten) while not tying up a phone line.