I've lived a life free of dangers that were not manufactured by myself or in my own mind. True, I've done some dangerous, scary things but I walked into all but a few of those situations with my eyes wide open. True, Katrina passed over our community, but we were waiting and planning, and it was only a Cat 1 by the time it got here. Yesterday, I got the chance to find out how I would react in an emergency situation without the benefit of prior knowledge. When visiting a museum yesterday, alarms started blaring, emergency lights flashing.
I calmly took my children to the exit while looking for answers to what might be happening. Alright, I dropped my purse spilling the contents, but I rarely carry a purse so forgot I had it. At the exit, we were met by security who pointed us to the door through which we could join the other visitors and the staff who were not seeing to the animals, where we waited outside in the 105° temperatures with the sun quickly making leather of our dehydrating bodies. Once the museum was checked, we were allowed back inside. Supposedly, dust from the construction of a new exhibit caused the alarms to sound, the fire trucks and police to arrive, and the building to be evacuated.
We were safe, though hot, and I got to see how I, and my children, face emergencies. When we got back inside and continued our tour, I noticed that we were 50 feet from an exit and yet walked almost the entire length of the museum to evacuate. When I pointed out the exit to the children and told them we should have gone out that way, my son said, "Mom, I tried to tell you." I guess I was too busy picking up the contents of my purse to notice or listen. I realized that though I remained calm and my pulse never elevated, I could have gotten us killed anyway (if there had been a real emergency) by wasting time taking the long way out of the bowels of the museum.
Have you ever been evacuated from a public building? Would you have stopped to pick up the contents of your purse?