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05/17/2012 07:16 AM

(Practice) fire alarms and issues at work

Beeleeg
Beeleeg  
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Post edited by: Beeleeg, at: 05/17/2012 11:55 AM
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05/18/2012 02:41 AM
hawakeita
hawakeita  
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Hello. I love the title of this post. What did you want to say? I've had horrible problems with fire alarms and other emergencies at work. What has your experience been?

05/18/2012 09:09 AM
Annelle
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Posts: 193
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So far I haven't had too many problems. To me, it's a chance to get away from my desk and breathe. But I can imagine it's tough for people who have a harder time walking around.

05/24/2012 10:12 AM
Beeleeg
Beeleeg  
Posts: 117
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I was having a bad day and deleted what I wrote.

The fire alarm practices are hard for me. And it's embarassing because I can't walk down 5 floors worth of steps. Sad Last time I did it I was out of work for 2 days.

We have a new plan in effect now and they want us to do a walk through. It's going to involve a longer route and I just don't want to do it. I hurt enough. I'm trying to figure out what to do and if I should tell anyone.

I feel embarassed because I'm obese and my co-workers don't know what I'm going through. They just think I'm fat and lazy. I don't want to tell them what's going on with me. My boss knows and the person from HR knows. But I don't want to tell anyone else.


05/24/2012 06:49 PM
tortoisegirl
tortoisegirlPosts: 3242
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Wow I guess thats a tough decision between telling coworkers (so you can go through with whatever accommodation they can do for you) or putting yourself through unnecessary pain. Is there any way you can have some sort of compromise, such as saying your have a health problem that will require X accommodation, and leaving it at that? It could actually be helpful so they understand anything going on day to day with mobility/energy is not your weight or being lazy.

You could even ask HR if there is a way you could have an accommodation with a way which doesn't require disclosing it to co-workers, such as saying you were instructed by such as such in leadership to do X instead of follow the group down the stairs. So is taking a longer walking route actually much better for you than avoiding the stairs? Make sure to speak up if that too isn't a good fit for you. I'm sure there are different levels of accommodations for evacuation drills (such as the most severe being someone who would need to be carried out).

I think invisible conditions are tougher to deal with than visible ones in some ways, but the visible one is tougher in other ways. Someone in a wheelchair for example wouldn't have the choice to keep their condition private, but someone with chronic pain has a tough decision to disclose their condition as then people might wonder if they are on pain meds that could affect their work, think of them as weak and not want to give them as much work, etc. Best wishes.


05/24/2012 07:41 PM
hawakeita
hawakeita  
Posts: 1913
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I'm an Advocate

Hello. I work on the 21st floor of an office building, and NYC had a random earthquake last summer. It sucked because I knew right away it wasn't a bad one since nothing had even fallen off our desks, but because NYC doesn't know what to do in an earthquake, they made us evacuate. I was so pissed off and terrified because I know I couldn't walk down the 21 flights. And I was wearing a heart monitor that day. Well, a co-worker stayed with me the whole trip and people were really pissed at me for going so slowly. I mean come on, my legs don't work, and the constant turning in the stair well makes me dizzy, what the HELL you want me to do? I didn't know what else to do, so I yelled back at them, "I have Lupus, go around me." And I trudged down those stairs pissed off as all Hell. At the bottom, I had had it; my body had had it. I talked the security guys into letting me sit in a chair near them. There became a bunch of us over time.

This was the worst of it. We had just moved to that building and no emergency measures were in place. Well, now there are. I am on a confidential list of people who need help out of the building, and will have access to the freight elevator instead of having to take the 21 flights down the stairs. They are even assigning me a buddy to make sure I get to the freight elevator.

Please take care of yourself. Ask for what you need. You deserve it.


05/25/2012 05:43 AM
Beeleeg
Beeleeg  
Posts: 117
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You guys have good advice, thank you.

kate, I will have to think about it. Maybe I should have a sit down talk with the Fire Marshall in our building and tell him exactly what is going on and see what they can suggest. I do need to know how to get out and no matter which way they send us there are at least 5 floors of stairs to go down. I will go down in an emergency but the practice drill every other month and the walk through are just too hard.

MK, wow. I could not have done it. I remember that earthquake, we had to get out too but our bldg was shaking and the ceiling was moving. Scared the you know what out of me. I did make it down last and I was out the next 2 days with lots of pain. And that's before I was even diagnosed. I like what they are doing with you. Thank goodness they have plans and given you help. *hugs*

I'll think about it and maybe talk with the person in charge and just tell them my concerns and ask him to keep it to himself as much as possible. Maybe he will have an idea.


05/25/2012 11:56 AM
Annelle
Annelle  
Posts: 193
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I hate to bring up 9/11, but you'd think more tall office buildings in NYC would have learned they need to have good evacuation plans in case of emergency. It's not just the healthy that have to get out in case of an emergency!

I hope it all works out for everyone! So far the highest I've been here in MN has been the 3rd floor. Tongue If I had to run up the stairs, I'd be in trouble. But I do admit that most people go down stairs a lot faster than I can with my achy body!


05/28/2012 06:29 PM
SSLMD
Posts: 1023
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I worked in an 18 story building in suburban Washington DC. They had a type of chair with a belt drive instead of wheels. The belt had a braking system on it. They arranged for co-workers to take responsibility for evacuating those who would have trouble doing it by themselves. It worked reasonably well in drills. One example at http://evacuscape.com/?gclid=COKO7JKrpLACFQUEnQod6lptYg

Looking at other ads, I get the impression that the UK and commonwealth are ahead of the US in this.


05/29/2012 02:06 AM
hawakeita
hawakeita  
Posts: 1913
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I'm an Advocate

Yes, we found out AFTER the earthquake fiasco that each floor has these chairs. No one knew. I guess the trick is, prioritizing who among us are in the most need, which I'm imagining would not be me since I don't look sick, and then who is going to volunteer to guide that chair down 21 flights of stairs? That's gotta hurt. I'm just glad we finally have a system in place is all. NYC is a slow learner, that's all I can say about that.
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