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Do you know what happens - alyburns' (aka sideburns & alyjude) Hiding Place
If you spoke faster than David Hewlett you’d travel back in time: Michael Shanks
Do you know what happens
when the power goes out in an apartment complex for "Active Seniors"??? Well, first, in your own apartment, naturally, everything goes off because all of us have had power outages before, right? But THEN, all the 'fire doors' automatically close and lock, as do the outside doors - and naturally the elevators - STOP - wherever the hell they are at the moment of the black-out (or in this case: sunset-out). Phones go dead too.

Now for most folks, you just wait. But in a "For active Seniors" building, well, you have a lot of folks hooked up to electric 'things'. And in each building - or wing - when those 'fire doors' close? They're completely LOCKED IN. No stairs leading out because...the FIRE DOORS HAVE CLOSED AND LOCKED. And you know what else? Most seniors here aren't really...you know...active. And that means they're like...really SENIOR and a cell phone is a "I wouldn't have one of those things! They cause BRAIN CANCER!" futuristic, progressive, EXPENSIVE item most don't own, which also means they are completely cut off from the world - and HELP - when something like this happens.

And those of us living on the end of a wing (meaning we have access to an outer door and thus stairs, and thus ESCAPE) can't get to the ones locked in, not to mention many of us on the end of wings also can't USE the stairs in an emergency, so couldn't help them anyway...and to top it off, the automatic system this complex is SUPPOSED to have to let us know IN ADVANCE when THEY'RE going to turn off the GODDAMN POWER...doesn't work because WHEN THE POWER GOES OFF, SO DO THE PHONES, and guess what? They don't bother to check those of us with EMERGENCY CELL PHONES and CALL US ON THEM!

So...for 45 minutes tonight...this building had no power and the power was turned OFF by the maintenance staff because we had a HUMONGOUS water leak on the third floor and evidently to keep from being fried, they had to...you know...TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY TO THE WHOLE COMPLEX...and no one thought to WARN us...or even tell the new ANSWERING SERVICE we now have (along with new owners) instead of our usual direct line to the maintenance man for after hours emergencies...like NO FUCKING POWER. Isn't it nice to have an ANSWERING SERVICE instead? One that works for HUNDREDS of customers and NOT JUST US?

Now, one might assume I'm a bit... PISSED, but don't let my caps confuse you.


I PANICKED and I'm not even on the 'inside' of any wing, but I realized if this had been a REAL emergency, I wouldn't make it down the stairs, and not just because I couldn't leave Abby behind (taking her would mean putting her in her case and trying to carry her down) but because I know I couldn't - really couldn't - go down two flights (actually two and a half) flights of stairs anymore, so without use of the elevator, I'd be stuck too (but I'd try to get one of the truly active seniors heading for the stairs to take Abby in her case!). But man, just imagine some of the others in this complex - like the ones who'd be stuck between fire doors or who can only move with the help of their electric wheelchair or scooter and thus, like me, unable to use the stairs?

Thank GOD this was just a maintenance 'thing' today. But you can bet I'm going to talk to the new office manager regarding the 'automatic information' system and how they need to A) re-establish it, B) ensure every resident has a cell phone, even if one of the cheap ones to use ONLY in an emergency, and C) ensure Maintenance USES it to warn us in the future and/or provide an exclamation AND override the fire doors, which I KNOW they have the ability to do!

I'm very glad I had enough Xanax left, I can tell you that. And clean underwear.

Yes, I kept hearing my mother's voice, "Never go around without clean underwear on, honey. You never know...."


9 comments or Leave a comment
angelskuuipo From: angelskuuipo Date: August 1st, 2013 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
That is unbelievably unacceptable on their part! I get the need to shut off the power in order to fix the leak, but to not bother telling the residents is just plain wrong. I hope no one was injured because of the outage. The full power of my disapproving glare is behind you when you speak with the manager.

{{hugs you and passes you a cup of tea}}
alyburns From: alyburns Date: August 1st, 2013 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)

I'd have to say yes, there were problems

as ambulances and fire trucks arrived about 40 minutes into the 'sunset out' - which could have meant a either heart attacks; help for those on medical equipment; or even someone stuck in the elevator (I wouldn't hear the emergency buzzer at my end). :( The last ambulance and truck just left.
knitty_woman From: knitty_woman Date: August 1st, 2013 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
This has got to violate some kind of fire code, having doors that lock one INSIDE a building during an electrical outage. It's also got to be an ADA violation not to have a plan for notifying and evacuating people with disabilities in the event of an emergency. If the manager isn't helpful, I'd contact the town/city Fire Marshal and also the city/county Housing Dept.
patk From: patk Date: August 1st, 2013 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Aly, that situation even scares me and I *am* able to walk, run and use stairs without help.

This goes way beyond negligent behavior on their side and strongly borders on criminal because they know the situation and apparently accept that people trapped between closed fire doors will actually die in an emergency. Be it because of the actual cause of emergency or simply by stroke or heart failure because they were so scared.

bluewolf458 From: bluewolf458 Date: August 1st, 2013 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds terrifying.

And I agree with Knitty Woman - to lock the residents in in an emergency is unforgivable, probably violates all kinds of safety code, and not to give any warning for a maintenance cut-off of the electricity is worse. An externaal outage, fair enough, but a maintenance cut-off? They can't spare thirty seconds to warn people? A simple method would be to have somwe kind of (even one-way to ensure privacy) intercon system so that a simple announcement could be heard in every apartment
vamysteryfan From: vamysteryfan Date: August 1st, 2013 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have every right to be terrified and furious! It's completely unacceptable that they didn't alert you FIRST! I"d be having some stern words with the manager myself.

And is that supposed to be a safe system? Locking people in like that? SHeesh.
mab_browne From: mab_browne Date: August 1st, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, a system that locks fire doors when the power goes out sounds absolutely ideal. Not. I don't blame you for being worried and upset.
alobear From: alobear Date: August 1st, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
How terrifying!

I'm glad you're okay.

(Deleted comment)
alyburns From: alyburns Date: August 4th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)


Shaken but not stirred, right?

Me and James Bond's martinis!

Edited at 2013-08-04 05:00 am (UTC)
9 comments or Leave a comment