Take Your Time; This Is Not a Drill

FD Hanover: about as competent as the flight crew from “Airplane!”

An unfamiliar mixture of blaring, beeping, and buzzing wrenches you from a precious Tuesday night’s sleep. With furrowed brows, you turn to your clock, which reads the cruel time of 4:30 AM. The sound doesn’t stop, so you open both heavy doors of the three-room double typical of the River cluster to investigate drowsily and finally hear an unmistakable fire alarm. You have gotto be kidding.

No one else is outside, so you hesitate to walk towards the EXIT sign. Finally, a groggy floor-mate appears, then another. You collectively groan and move reluctantly to grab coats. Halfway down the stairs, you realize you’re still barefoot. Fantastic. 

4:40 AM: You and the rest of French 3 are huddled like penguins delirious with anger and sleep deprivation. Curses ring cheerfully through the air. A Hanover police car drives by murderously, disregarding the throng of ‘15s in blankets and slippers spilling into the streets. They scatter as he pushes on, obviously irritated. It takes another two minutes for the quaint Hanover fire trucks to come by, making a total response time of twelve minutes. At least they’re cute and shiny. 

Students continue to stumble out into the darkness, and some are still inside. As your feet become muddied and cold, the firemen comb through the dorm hunting students who slept through the alarm. Robin Alnas from down the hall found it “kind of absurd that some firemen [were] waking me up and yelling at me because I couldn’t hear the fire alarm. Telling me that I would be potentially dead by now… Sorry for not hearing the alarm.” A student from another floor remarked pointedly, “There was a fire drill this morning?” He was not the only one who slept soundly between two thick doors as an alarm rang faintly from the hallway. Good to know that the alarm and the firemen function so well during this actual, but harmless, fire. Oh, wait.

Finally, you’re allowed to return to your bed. You walk by S&S and Hanover Police, who reveal that this was not a drill, but a case of late-night freshman stupidity. Cool. You’ve lost an hour of sleep because somebody burnt some popcorn or decided to have a classy smoke at 4:30 AM.

The response of the Hanover firemen was as reluctant as you were to haul yourself out of bed and outside, and your UGA and three floor-mates have apparently cheated death by remaining inside, chastised rather than rescued, by the impressive inefficiency of our small-town heroes. I mean, the River cluster is far away from campus, but not that far.

Meghan K. Hassett