Fire Drill

Well, there’s nothing so special about this week except for the fact that on Thursday, we took part in a company activity they call the Fire Drill. We’ve already been informed about the fire drill days before the event but this didn’t prevent us (AOTS trainees) from being the least prepared group in the whole of Murai office. But what do you expect, it’s our first fire drill in Japan. In my case, it’s my first fire drill, period.

So, this’ what happened. At around 11:15, we heard this strange sound from the company sound system. It sounded something like paper being crumpled but since we all know that the fire drill will start at 11:15, we assumed that this is the signal that would usher in the start of the Fire Drill.

At first, we didn’t know what to do. Some were even joking that maybe, we should hide under our tables but we remembered that we’re having a fire drill and not an earthquake drill so we decided to evacuate the building immediately. Besides, it would be too much of an embarrassment if our superiors would go on looking for us only to find our that we are under our tables during a fire drill.

On the way out, we noticed that we’re the only people in the corridors. Where are the Japanese?!? The building is supposed to be on fire, why are they not rushing out? Our inquiry was later answered by our coordinators, saying they have protocols on what to do first during a fire. One of the mentioned protocols is to turn the computer systems down and if possible, protect the hard disks.

That made sense. Why did I not think of that? Well maybe, I thought what do I care about some inanimate disk when I, myself, am under the threat of being burned to death. At a moment there, I forgot that this is Japan and everybody here follows a protocol in every eventuality. During fires, it is important to protect the hard disks because these contain important information, that is of paramount importance to the company.

This “everybody follows a protocol” theory became even more obvious when we went outside to the parking lot, where we are supposed to converge. Almost everybody was organized except us. The people were going out of the building in lines and each line is lead by a person holding a signboard, which I think bears the name of their respective departments.

We suddenly remembered that we were supposed to belong to a line of our own. We should also be organized. In search of our own line, we went back to the building (which during a real fire, should be burned by now), and went to the other side of the building. We were fortunate enough to find our own line, bearing our department name and eventually, back to the parking lot (where we came from in the first place).

What was so embarrassing about what we did was that almost everybody in the parking lot saw us running back to the “burning” building. But, what the heck. We’re foreigners and they should know that by now. Maybe next time, we’ll be as prepared as them. Maybe.

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