It’s one in the morning as I write this, I’m waiting to post it until morning because I’m pretty tired, but I wanted to get this out. I’m sitting here trying to drown out this rushing water sound in my ears, no doubt caused by listening to my building’s fire alarm for a half hour, waiting for it to shut off, or some (hopefully attractive) firemen to come rescue. Whoever designed this building didn’t really think through the painfully loud fire alarm when deciding to put the accessible apartments on the eleventh floor with no balconies.
This brings me to my point in writing this. While my neighbours were outside waiting out the situation in the freezing cold, I was trapped on the eleventh floor and at risk of damaging my ears. I’m grateful that I at least have the mobility to turn the lights on, and let the firemen know that I’m here. A lot of people don’t have that luxury and are stuck in their beds at night.
Maybe it was the creepy movie I’d been watching, or just the stress of the situation, but I started thinking of what I would do if this were a serious fire. I decided that if I saw smoke coming through the door I would grab my winter scarf, some towels, or anything else I could find to block it with. I was hoping that adrenaline would take over for my disability and make that happen quickly.
Then I got scared when I thought of my poor little cat hiding under the bed. She’s been through hell and back with me, but there’s no way I could save her like that. Nevermind all my things, and the wheelchair I’m dependent on. Like many, I’m too poor to afford renters insurance, let alone replace what I’d lose.
Thankfully it’s all over now, and everyone seems safe (terrified cat included). Still, I can’t help but wonder if anyone has died this way. We need better emergency standards, or at least some way for emergency workers to know that people like me can’t get out.