At 4 a.m. I stirred in my sleep because I heard a lady shouting downstairs. Then I instructed my ears to catch the words and instead I heard my parents in the next room talk about fire and smoke. What would you do? Get out of bed to enquire? What did I do?
Blunder 1: Turned on my side and slept again! And I am not proud of it. I chose sleep over saving my life! Until obviously my mother came and announced “Out of bed now! There’s an emergency!”, at which I immediately leapt out of bed, grabbed my phone, pulled my sister out of bed and went to switch off the main electricity supply to our flat.
Blunder 2: While I was doing this, my mother ushered us out of the house just when my sister reacted in time to take the keys to the house, which my mother in her panicked state initially failed to see the relevance of!
By the time my father located the flat which was the source of the fumes, our resident electrician and another man had readied a fire extinguisher for use.
Blunder 3: Interestingly, my father had to remind the electrician to switch off the particular flat’s electricity supply to avoid the fire from spreading through the lines.
Blunder 4: While we were ringing door bells and evacuating other residents from their flats, a lot of them elderly, only after 10 minutes into the whole exercise did a young guy realize that the building’s fire alarm should be sounded to make things easier!
Blunder 5: While the evacuation persisted and the fire couldn’t be brought under control, a good 20 minutes from the first time I got out of my house, it struck me that the local emergency fire services should be informed.
Blunder 6: And guess what? I pride myself for remembering contact numbers of people, but I couldn’t recall if the fire emergency services were 101 or 102! (FYI, in India, it’s 101.) And of all the contact numbers I have, I didn’t have that of the fire department!
After which I called Just Dial, the online Yellow Pages of India, who thankfully responded very quickly! And further appreciation for the young chap at Just Dial who entertained my request, for breaking their custom and not having me asked me to rate the previous service I had received from a restaurant, the contact number of which I had taken from them. Good instincts!
And then the story has the routine firemen informed-firemen came-fire doused-all clear sign-residents go back home-sleep for a while again clichéd ending!
Note to self: Please appreciate that your life is more valuable than your sleep! And memorizing the emergency numbers is more important than memorizing those of your boss. Of course, he’s important too. But he’s not going to douse the fire, is he?
Graciously (and safely) Yours!