Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Hope the Message Gets Past the Spam Filter

Employees at the Criminal Justice Center got the below e-mail today from the folks in charge of building maintenance:

RE: Official Notification – FIRE ALARM TESTING – Criminal Justice Center

Simplex-Grinnell will be conducting fire alarm TESTING on Wednesday, July 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center, 1201 Franklin St. Please disregard all alarms. In the event of an actual emergency, you will be notified by Facilities and Property Management by e-mail and/or P.A. system. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Which prompted the following e-mail response from Pro. Victims:

Seriously? Really? If there is a real emergency, some one will send me an email? Or they might also use the PA? I wonder who we trust to not cross the wires on that issue. Maybe after the smoking pile of rubble stops burning, FPM will all look around and say - I thought YOU were sending an email. No, I thought YOU were using the P.A.

An email, for God's sake? REALLY????

I can't help but imagine the scene in the courtroom:

ATTORNEY: Hey Judge, it's really hot in here and I smell smoke.
JUDGE: Oh, everything's fine. If there was a fire, I'm sure someone would have e-mailed me.

The level of safety in the CJC has become a colossal joke, but as my Mom always said: "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt."


Thomas Hobbes said...

Not everyone got the email, and I understand that FPM and the HFD appeared on CJC 12 in response to what was believed to be an actual alarm.

whimsicalrandomness said...

i had the same feelings about the whole 'email or pa system notification' also. i really don't think that the level of security and emergency management is taken all that seriously in our building and by some department heads, like fpm, as it should. that's not to mention all of the 'inconvenient' setbacks for alarm/evacuation testing that goes on because of operational disruptions. and i agree with your mom... emergency management is a by far underappreciated measure until the day comes that it is needed. only then is it greatly criticized. to tone it down a bit, does anyone here also park at the county garage behind the civil building? it took me nearly 1/2 hour to get on the street. what gives?!

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem getting out of the garage yesterday. I think there was an Astros game that had just gotten out.

Anonymous said...

Your Mom is so right and unfortunately, the powers that make these decisions don't have the knowledge to handle this. I am sure they just knew the right person to get the job.

If you think that garage is bad, the garage in the Jury Assembly building. It can take 30 -45 minutes to get out if you park on the upper floors. And God forbid if there ever were to be a fire. All would perish!

Anonymous said...

Umm, I work in a different county building downtown. From the day I started I was told about the complacency of FPM and others and to make my spouse aware that should something catastrophic happen to be prepared to sue.

Conveniently enough my spouse works for a good attorney.

editor said...

In the Smith County Jail the fire alarm goes off about every 30 minutes (they allow smoking there). One time it went off and the pickett officer called out over the PA system "Y'all it's a fire for real, get out!"

Anonymous said...

I know the last post was funny, but damn, that is sad.

Anonymous said...

In my old courthouse, everyone just ignored the fire alarms except on my floor, where they didn't work. One time when they were actually worried about a bomb threat they had to send investigators to go door to door.

In my new courthouse, they take that stuff seriously. Two full evacuations this Summer. Three if you include them forcing us into the basement because of tornados. And they are serious--imagine Tommy Lee Jones pointing a gun at you: "Sir, you WILL evacuate this building or I WILL shoot you and drag your body out." I heart Texas.

pro.victims said...

A few years ago, there was a bomb threat called in against a specific prosecutor, by name, in the CJC.

They notified the 10th and 16th floors and had those evacuated. The 10th floor, because they believed for some reason the threat had been called in from there, the 16th, because that is where the prosecutor was working. Y'all think about all the logic flaws with that decision . . . .

Now, the rest of us realized there was a problem when we looked out the window and saw crowds on the street being held back by police, and some folks we knew calling in from the sidewalk asking us why the cops wouldn't let anyone in the building. I made a few phone calls within the DAO, and learned what was going on. I suggested to an administrator - Maybe we should notify the whole building? I was told "Do as your conscious dictates."

That would be 18 floors of people in a high rise who had no idea there might be a bomb in the building.

So, I guess the email alert system would be an upgrade.