Lady in a Vest

I had the best time a work last week! We had a fire drill, and I am the fire warden for my office suite.


To put this in context, this was not my first time at the rodeo with these responsibilities. I was the floor warden when I was at the same job for seven years. I wasn’t very pleased with it and HATED wearing the vest and hat at the drills, but it was my responsibility, and me being me, I followed the rules to the letter.  I dutifully put a sticky note on the exterior of every door after I verified it was empty, I pushed grumpy partners out of the suite, and I marked it all clear.

That office building was very strict. A week after each drill all the wardens were called together and they gave a list of all the things we did wrong suite by suite: Three women brought their purses, or two people had drinks in their hands, or you took more than one minute to exit your floor.

Now that I am a proud CERT member, I volunteered for these responsibilities. I always want to know the different exits and what the master plan is in case of an emergency.

Dutifully I read the manual, and I created a checklist of all the people who work in our office and acquired a clipboard to hold the list, and I was so excited to get my vest and flashlight. I was truly disappointed not to have a hard hat this time. We knew in advance roughly when the alarm would be, so I prepped everyone with the meetup location and the route we were expected to take.

When the alarm went off, I was ready. On went my bright orange vest.

Orange Vest

I went to the furthest part of the suite and walked towards the exit, checking each office and closing each door as I methodically worked my way through. Most people left willingly, but there were a few stragglers that I scooted out. I checked each office and under each workstation.  Then down the stairs I went, the last of my crew.

Once I was out of the building, I caught up with my office mates and started marking them off of my list. I was giddy! I made my way to the meeting place and checked in with building management. Once all my team were in the area, we were released back to our offices.

This building was all about carrots instead of sticks – they gave us cookies at the check in site outside!

Back upstairs I did a happy dance. That was so much fun! People could see that I genuinely loved it, and it was a dreaded job responsibility that wouldn’t fall on their shoulders.

Has anyone else been fire warden? or Do normal people find drills like these simply a nuisance to be tolerated?

4 thoughts on “Lady in a Vest”

  1. I always wondered what the people in the orange vest did. I mean, I know they did things, but I guess I didn’t know specifically what they did. I’ve never been one of those people before, but I can see they have an important position. I see drills like this as important – we need to know what to do just in case. yeah, they can seem annoying, but it doesn’t take long and it doesn’t happen too often. I think it’s worth it.


    1. Not everyone in an orange vest is a floor warden, but it is a really common color for that. I used to jokingly say that it is was to embarrass the wearer, but especially this last drill, I noticed how easy it is to spot the vest wearers in a crowd.


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