Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Now on a slightly more light hearted note (yeah, I know, light crude oil @ $63.99...I've already reduced my demand by taking the bus more often), you know those emergency broadcast systems that they got on TV? Y'know, the ones that say that they would be giving instructions on what to do, "had this been an actual emergency." Have you ever gotten the feeling that in case of a real emergency, you'd probably be dead by the time they got their act together?

Last week Thursday, the Scarfe building at UBC (and a buncha other buildings) was evacuated due to a natural gas leak. Sitting in the basement dungeon (read: my office cubicle), I had no idea that there was anything wrong, just plugging away at my assignment, until I'm told that we're to leave. Nobody really smelled anything (of course, natural gas is odorless until you add something to give its distinct odor), but we're told to go outdoors, where the odor is even stronger.

So, we're sitting around on the grass (thankfully, it's a nice sunny day) and we have no idea where we're supposed to be sitting because no one can seem to figure out where the gas leak is coming from. There is someone standing on the corner with an orange safety vest and she's got yellow "Do Not Cross" tape set up in a completely arbitrary area, ambiguously defining where we're not supposed to walk. And then somebody casually strolls by while smoking a cigarette.

The firefighters are strolling around, trying to determine the source of the leak, while we still don't know where we're supposed to sit or stand. About 45 minutes later, we are allowed back into the building, only to be told to leave the second we step foot into the building. Realizing the gong show excuse of crisis management that we are witnessing, I make a point of grabbing a snack from the staff room fridge and my notebook so I'll have something to do until they let us back in.

90 minutes in lost work time due to this gas leak, I tells ya. If there were a major crisis, things would not go well.

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