Characteristics of community living #3 – Fun Fire Facts

Living together means taking care of each other. We cook meals for each other, we try to keep the house clean together and when someone is sick, we bring the person a nice cup of tea. Apart from that, it’s important to make sure we’re safe. Therefore we need some simple rules like our fire tag system which tells us who’s in the building and who’s not. Although safety is a serious topic, it caused some funny situations as well.

Half an hour before my wake up alarm was supposed to go off, I suddenly woke up by a terrible but familiar sound. I was really annoyed when I realised it was the fire alarm. It was only a few weeks ago since we had a fire drill, so why another one? And why this early in the morning? My friend who was staying in my room as well immediately sat up straight in her bed asking ‘what’s going on?’ ‘Probably another fire drill’ I replied. I put on my bathrobe and opened my door. I was just about to go back to bed because I didn’t see anyone rushing out of their rooms, but then some other doors opened and people sleep walked to the emergency exit. ‘Okay we should go outside too then!’ It was really cold outside but I was thankful it didn’t rain that morning. As we walked to the parking area, we saw everyone waiting in the cold, wearing the most fun outfits. I really enjoyed seeing everybody covered in huge blankets, wearing pyjama trousers in all kinds of colours and patterns, and let’s not forget their bed heads and sleepy eyes. After all our names were mentioned from the fire tag board, we went back to our rooms again. Before we went inside, we of course wanted to know why the alarm went off. I was surprised to hear it wasn’t a fire drill. Apparently someone wanted to have toast for breakfast but forgot to get the bread out of the toaster. Luckily everybody plus the toaster survived, unfortunately the toast did not.

Another fire story. Every Wednesday at 11.00 am, we test our fire alarm. We don’t have to do anything, we can just continue our work and ignore the awful sound for a couple of seconds. I think it was in the third week or so that I was here, that the fire alarm went off and no one was around in the same room as I was, in contrast to the past few times. I thought: is this practise or is this real? In both situations I had to go outside anyway, so I only took my phone and walked outside. I saw someone else just walking through the door so I followed him. Outside I didn’t see anybody else so I asked him if we were the only ones. He looked at me all confused and told me he was just about to get something from his car. Then suddenly I remembered it was Wednesday. As I hurried back to my office I felt incredibly silly. I sat down at my desk, opened my Google calendar and typed down a warning for every Wednesday morning: ‘FIRE ALARM, DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!!!’ I never went out unnecessary ever since.

I was really irritated that time the fire alarm woke me up. And I don’t especially like hearing that whining noise every week either, but it’s all for a good cause. Safety is important for us in order to do the work God has given us. We should not underestimate that. The toaster showed us that small mistakes can have large consequences, but if we all apply the safety rules consistently, we can continue building Gods Kingdom for a long time!