Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fire Training

"Fiya trainingu", my supervisor says to me the other day.
"Nani sore?", I asked.
"Fiya trainingu", he says again, handing me a kanji-laden memo.

I look over the memo, and recognize the kanji for "fire" 火 and "disaster" 災.
"Must be a fire drill."

This morning, an otherwise slow day at the office was interrupted by "Fire Training", Japanese style. Truly an interesting experience. Three firemen in dress uniform come to our office at the appointed time, and start the process. I know a couple the firemen, and off duty they're nuts. Here, they're all business. After some preliminary greetings, they start the drill. Two different bells and about three very polite voices start to sound. Strobe lights start going off too. Everyone in the office has a specific duty to perform. This is, of course, after the head librarian has made an announcement, which we all listen to very politely. After the announcement, everyone gets up to man their stations. The younger guys grab the fire extinguishers, and some of the other guys get the hoses. My supervisor goes upstairs to clear all the other rooms. My job is to hang out with the superintendent and "supervise", or "stay out of the way".

It's too cold to go outside, so we stand around the unheated entrance waiting for the drill to wrap up. Once everyone is gathered in the lobby, the head fireman gives a lecture on the importance of fire safety. At least that's what I interpreted it as.

My supervisor says that at next year's fire drill I can run around yelling "Fire!"

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