Hello Fellow Bihnions!!
@GoStanford: this is for you !!
Poker Face thought it would be nice to create a new thread about this very serious topic of emergency evacuation. Well, let’s reassure everyone here, Poker Face hotel didn’t burn down, it was only a false (but scary) alarm.
Poker Face has had two emergency evacuations in the last 6 months while she was in the US for business (read here: totally jet-lagged). The first one occurred before she discovered Tom Bihn bags, and the second one after she equipped herself with an Aeronaut and a travel tray.
The first thing to know is that Poker Face almost always gets a room near the emergency exit (it seems that it’s where they put solo traveller wanting a king bed and a quiet room far from elevator/vending & ice machines), which is very practical when she needs to evacuate .
The second thing to know is that Poker Face is not yet a “one bag” traveller, so she always has a classic luggage that goes in plane belly (and that gets lost, sometimes) and a carry-on.
First evacuation: room on the 10th floor of a classic chain hotel in Philly, or what not to do in case of an evacuation…
It’s 8.30 AM, Poker Face just returned from her breakfast and is embellishing herself in front of the bathroom mirror. Suddenly, the fire alarm goes off… Poker face hesitates: is it a false alarm? She opens the door and sees people screaming and running towards the emergency exit, she almost get stomped by a herd of hysterical hippos and understands that it must be a bad situation, so she shall vacate her room pronto…
Poker face grabs all her important personal belongings scattered on the bed/night table…, her computer (in the mini-safe), her contact lenses (where the hell did she put her glasses??), her camera… then tries to stuff all that in her superb & very chic rolling duffle. Aouch, too small… Well not a problem, she stuffs the rest in a backpack and takes the emergency exit.
The stairs are overcrowded already, and it’s impossible to go beyond level 3… Poker Face is sweating because the rolling part of her rolling duffle is pretty useless in the stairs, and it is becoming damn heavy. People are pushing as they want to evacuate, but the zombies in front decide to wait (maybe it’s a false alarm after all, and it’s kinda cold outside in wintery Philly…). Argh!!! The roar intensifies, and Poker Face suddenly regrets to have schlepped a heavy bag with her, as her stretched arms now resemble those of an orang-utan. Three minutes of pushing later (Poker Face made it to the second floor!), security arrives and tells everyone that it was a false alarm. As the elevators are still blocked, Poker Face takes her heavy rolling duffle back on the 10th floor. That’s 8 flights of stairs, Poker Face almost gets a heart attack when she arrives in her room.
Second evacuation: second floor in a semi-posh motel in the Boston area, or what to do in case of an evacuation…
It’s 5 AM, Poker Face is sleeping like a princess in her fluffy bed.
Her travel tray sits on the night table, stuffed with room and car keys, wallet, pocket camera, passport and glasses.
Her aeronaut, containing all her very important earthly belongings lays on the main table. After the disastrous Philly evacuation six months ago, Poker Face learnt a lot and decided that she would put all the important stuff in one place, including her contact lenses, plus a spare set of clothes and underwear in a small pouch (a non Tom Bihn pouch, I must admit…).
A vague buzzing sound wakes her up. Certainly another stupid idiot who forgot he/she had set his/her alarm clock so early: come on man, wake up and switch off you stupid clock, there are people trying to sleep here!... As cursing does not work (the buzzing sound continues), Poker Face stumbles out of her royal bed and reaches for the light. Half unconscious (and totally jet-lagged), she decides to check the corridor. She opens the door and is instantly horrified by the terrible noise she hears: it’s the fire alarm again (BTW those sound proof doors are really magical!), this time with a blinking red alarm light show. Poker Face is suddenly very awake. She also smells something weird: it’s time to evacuate...
Poker Face grabs her travel tray, her co-pilot (with the computer) and stuffs these in her aeronaut. She zips everything and she runs out with her precious Nordic A45 on the shoulder. The load is barely noticeable as she uses the absolute shoulder strap. She is among the first ones out!! In her PJ, but safely out! After 30 minutes, a few fire trucks and police cars, many firemen carrying heavy axes, the fire alarm stops. It turned out someone over flooded his toilet, which created a stream of water in the bathroom, then a mini flood that went through a hole in the floor and directly on an electric cabinet located one floor below. Long story short: that was the origin of the smoky weird smell…
Lessons learned (without becoming paranoid):
1. It’s important to locate the two nearest emergency exits when you arrive in your hotel. And also to have a general idea of where you are exactly in the building, as the location will most probably unfamiliar. It only takes a few minutes, and it helps to have a plan B. Some hotels are huge and the corridors very dark. Let’s imagine there’s smoke in there, you’ll never find your way out… Evacuation is a stressful situation, so it’s better to have prepared something. And the little maps on the hotel door are generally poorly made.
2. You should have all very important items in one place and one place only, so you can grab it in case of problem: your keys, glasses, wallet, passport, phone… (Poker Face uses her travel tray for that purpose).
3. Your carry-on should contain the other very important items that don’t fit in the travel tray: I mean all the things you absolutely need to have. This is especially true if you are abroad and alone. It may be your medications, your contact lenses, your computer (or your favourite teddy bear)... And also a spare set of clothes: Poker Face always has a set in her Aeronaut when she travels so it’s no problem for her. Keep it simple, don’t overstuff your carry-on. The aeronaut when not fully stuffed is not very heavy so Poker face can easily take it with her. Poker Face generally locks her precious Aeronaut in her luggage during the day (Some people suspect that she’s afraid someone might steal her wonderful Nordic aeronaut bag…).
4. Poker Face places her shoes next to her Aeronaut, so she finds them immediately. You don’t want to evacuate barefeet.
5. If you hear something, go have a look in the corridor (except if your door is warm, in that case you may be in trouble) and evacuate ASAP. Especially if you are in a high rise building: there may be a long way down (and you never know how many people will be in front of you). It will most probably be a false alarm, but just in case…
That was Poker Face return of experience. Poker face is pretty sure she can improve, but in the meantime, that’s all she can say.
Does any one of you guys have encountered similar situations? What advices would you give to your fellow Bihnions?
I hope to have entertained you a little bit, all the events related here really did happen!
Have a nice day!!