Blog Share 2009

Posted By on February 18, 2009

 It’s that time again, time for another Blog Share!

For those of you who don’t know, this is the brain child of -R- from And You Know What Else. It’s basically a day where people all over the internet get a chance to post anonymously on someone else’s site about anything they’d like to share.

This post here is not my post. It is from some person who is the writer at one of the blogs below. I don’t even actually know who it is this time since R went and changed up the rules.

So please be nice to my visitor and leave lots of comments!

Below is a list of all the participants of today’s Blog Share. Please go click, read and share the love.

And You Know What Else
Andrea Unplugged
Blue Soup
Bright Yellow World
Caity of the Keps
Daily Tannenbaum
Did I Say That Outloud?
Dispatches From The Failed Mommy Club
Face Down
For The Long Run
Full Of Snark
In Java, Literally
Just Below 63
A New Duck
NonSoccer Mom
The North Is My Snowcone
Not The Daddy
Operation Pink Herring
Pants, Pants, Pants
Red Red Whine
Sassy Buster
Sauntering Soul
Shushing Action
Snow-Covered Hills
Swimming With Sharks
Thinking Some More
Trueish Story
Way Way Up
Whiskey Marie


…And Then One Day, It Wasn’t A Drill

When I was a teenager I once set off the fire alarm in a school. It was summer and I was helping my stepfather install some tile in a portable so no one was around. I was curious to see if the alarm system would work, afterall, it was summer break. Well, to make a long story short…it worked. Needless to say, my stepfather (and the janitor who had to come in from home and shut it off), was not impressed.

A few years earlier, the house next door to where I grew up burned to the ground, the result of a cigarette carelessly flicked into a garbage can. I remember my stepfather waking me up and sitting around the kitchen table with my sisters, ready to leave at a moments notice if the winds outside blew the fire close enough to our house. My parents told me it was one of the few times where the three of us were completely silent. I remember being quite scared at the time, of course. The thought that I might lose the place I grew up in sickened and worried me. Fortunately our house was spared. Next door, one young man escaped the inferno by jumping from a second story window. A second young man was not so lucky, succumbing at the scene to smoke inhalation.

As a result, I never fool around when it comes to fires – or fire alarms. Occasionally, as a teacher, I bump into situations where some student sets it off for a lark. Early in my teaching career, I had a situation where I thought a bored student had set off the alarm and I went through the motions of leaving the school with my students. This time however, it was the real deal.

The school I was working in at the time was the largest in the board, actually one of the largest in the entire province – close to 500 students from Kindergarten to grade 6. Once I had led all my grade 6 students to the appropriate assembly area out in the playground, I did a quick head count….1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…11…12…13…14…15…16…17…18…19……It slowly dawned on me that I was one student short in my count….one student…one life. I did a recount. And then another. 19. I looked around for him but couldn’t see him through the sea of bodies. At this point I assumed it was just a drill and I remember joking that I wished students would at least wait until the afternoon to pull the alarm rather than doing it at 10am on a Monday morning.

I left my students in the care of a colleague and went on a search for my missing student. It was then that I saw flames shooting out of the side entrance of the school. I know of very few scarier situations where you are responsible for young lives in the face of a situation where you have no control. Outwardly, I exuded calm. I passed by a group of Kindergarten students who were crying and didn’t want to add to their anxiety by showing panic. Inwardly, however, I most certainly was panicking.

Wailing sirens announced the arrival of the fire department. I began to seriously entertain the possibility of re-entering the building to find the student. I had to find him. I just had to. After what seemed an eternity, I spotted my missing charge standing next to another teacher. To say I was relieved would be a gross understatement. I wanted to give the boy a good dressing down for putting me in such a panic. This was a kid that could be quite stubborn and difficult to deal with. It was a rare day that he could follow instructions. Really though, I was glad he was safe. Turns out he had turned left when the other students had turned right after leaving the class. He had wandered off to find a pair of running shoes and quickly separated from the rest of us, eventually leaving the school through another exit. I was so relieved and so pumped up on adrenaline that I was visibly shaking at this point. The relief I felt was indescribable.

The fire was extinguished within a few minutes of the fire trucks arriving. To make a long story short, it turned out that the boiler room had caught fire. Most of the damage (thank goodness for solid brick schools) had been contained to the boiler room and a storage room. The fire meant we got an unexpected mid-February holiday for about a week while the affected areas were cleaned up and the smells were dealt with.

Occasionally when I reflect back on my career to date, I find myself pondering this incident, which wasn’t really all that long ago. It’s a situation I hope I never experience again and something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Looking back on that day, I learned many things – life is precious, always be diligent and above all, a ringing fire alarm may not always mean “just another drill”.

About the author

Kristabella, who also answers to “Hey! Drunk Girl!”, is a reformed band geek with an amazing ability to drink most people under the table. You can read her inane ramblings here, where she talks about her exciting life as a spinster with two cats and a fascination for Bacon.


15 Responses to “Blog Share 2009”

  1. witchypoo says:

    When I was ten, our house burnt to the ground. Four usually noisy kids were eerily silent as well.
    It was November, and we slept in underpants and t shirts. Brrr.We watched it burn while in a car.

    witchypoos last blog post..Dirty T Shirt

  2. Several years ago, I went on a field trip with my daughter’s preschool to the local fire house. Full tour — it was great. Then, they took us to the Burn House. We got inside and the firemen told us they would be simulating a burning house and that we would have to escape it. Remember, I was with FOUR YEAR OLDS and I had my two year old with me. The smoke started billowing and of course most of the children freaked out, including my two. I got separated from my older daughter, who was then hauled out by a very pregnant mother who also had two other children in tow. Even though it wasn’t a real fire, it was one of the most stressful moments of my life and my older daughter still has serious issues with fire. She won’t even allow candles on her birthday cake.

    Jen on the Edges last blog post..Aliens

  3. -R- says:

    This is such a scary story – I can’t imagine not being able to find one of the kids! Thank goodness everyone was ok.

    And Jen? I Can’t believe they would simulate a fire for PRE-SCHOOLERS! WTF?

    -R-s last blog post..The Blog Share Post

  4. Allie says:

    Oh my goodness! I can’t even imagine how terrifying that was!

    Allies last blog post..Mannequin, McCarthy, Cusack, et al

  5. lizgwiz says:

    Those are some good lessons learned.

  6. Sheri says:

    We had a dryer fire once. Luckily it didn’t spread. This kind of stuff scares the shit outta me.

    Sheris last blog post..Two Steps Forward and Two Steps Back

  7. Venom says:

    It’s wild how, when a kid disappears during something like this, you are at once infuriated, relieved, and usually flooded with love at the same time.

    Good post.

    Venoms last blog post..

  8. Giggle Pixie says:

    My dad was a fireman so I grew up with the horror stories of what could happen in a fire. And since we lived in a small town, it often happened to people that we knew. It was scary, but I definitely grew up with an immense respect and appreciation for firemen and for fire safety.

    Giggle Pixies last blog post..It’s Getting Hot in Here!

  9. courtney says:

    Yikes, that is a terrifying situation. I’m glad your student was OK.

    courtneys last blog post..Blog Sharing Is Blog Caring

  10. abbersnail says:

    Fires scare me so much. My office building caught fire a few years ago, and I was just so silent the whole time, watching the flames get higher and higher.

    abbersnails last blog post..Blogshare post

  11. Sra says:

    Good story. Why isn’t this non-anonymous share-worthy?

  12. 3carnations says:

    That is so scary! I’m glad everyone was okay…Wandered off to find running shoes? Didn’t anyone ever tell him to leave everything in a fire, just get everyone out safely?

    3carnationss last blog post..Blog Share

  13. NGS says:

    I have nightmares about this every time we do a fire drill/tornado drill/lockdown (for when the shooters comes to your school) drill at school. My students make fun of me for how seriously I take all the drills, but someday it might not be a drill and when that day comes, I’m going to remember this story!!

    NGSs last blog post..All I do is watch television

  14. TUWABVB says:

    WOW – thanks for the reminder. I know people don’t take fire drills very seriously – especially adults! I remember being at my office and closing the door during a fire drill because I couldn’t be bothered to interrupt my work. NEVER AGAIN!

    TUWABVBs last blog post..Don’t Divorce My Parents

  15. A New Duck says:

    The first funeral I ever went to was when I was about 5 years old and the dead man had been electrocuted while fixing his washing machine. Ever since then I’ve been terrified of losing a family member to electrocution. It’s weird how the things you fear most when you’re young stick with you.

    A New Ducks last blog post..Blog share is here!