Conversations at Work [Fire Safety]


I have always wondered if my boss really cared about the well-being of her employees, but before last week’s conversation I didn’t know burning alive was of little concern.

Me: “I was wondering if we could have a fire-extinguisher in the teacher’s office?” [Which is located on the windowless, illegal second floor]

Laoban: “Why…. are you scared?”

Me: “Well the only fire extinguisher is on the first floor hidden behind the plants, in the event of a fire it might be….”

Laoban: “Why would there be a fire?”

Me: “Well of course, there likely won’t be a fire, this is just in case. I mean after all, the extra teacher’s desk has been converted (by you) to a makeshift kitchen with a portable propane-powered stove top… I’ve gone upstairs after a class and discovered it being used and unattended.”

Laoban: “Maybe, I’ll think about it.”

[conversation ends]

She is still thinking about it…. a week has gone by and still no fire extinguisher… the makeshift kitchen still exists but the stack of books that were within inches of the stove have been moved (not by her of course).

7 thoughts on “Conversations at Work [Fire Safety]

  1. Hi Todd. Just out of curiousity. Have you ever had a fire drill at school? I’ve worked at several schools and I’ve only ever witnessed one. It was several years ago in Northern China. I haven’t ever heard of anyone else drilling in case of fire. Seems odd as this was such a huge part of school life when I was a child. It seems like we had a fire drill every couple of months or so.

  2. Nope, no drills to speak of… It is odd now that you mention it, I remember having fire and tornado drills often and the occasional emergency evacuation drill from the school bus.

    A few schools now also have drills for in the event of an armed intruder. I guess that would be that generation’s version of what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

  3. We were to have a fire drill at my school, but it was cancelled 3 days in a row. Reason: “We can’t find the key to unlock the emergency exit door!”

    A friend of mine actually did have a fire drill at his bushiban and was asked to be the first volunteer for one of those sling devices. He declined and was then accused of “not trusting Taiwanese people”. A female Taiwanese teacher then stepped forward to do it, but she got scared and raised her arms to hang on to the side of the builing; she slipped out of the sling and fell 3 floors onto the concrete sidewalk!

  4. I thought of you last night when the fire alarm went off during my 7 o’clock class. Naturally, everyone panicked. No one knew what to do. There were students milling about everywhere, but only a few teachers asked the students to exit the building.

    I stopped class and asked the students to take the stairs down and out of the building. Just as the students were filing out, a Chinese teacher comes in and tells them to stay where they are, since she THINKS it might be a false alarm. She hadn’t bothered to check if it really was a false alarm or if there was an actual fire. Kinda defeats the purpose of a fire alarm, don’t you think?

  5. when i was a kid in the 60’s, i used to live in Florida. for years i thought the words “civil defense” meant to get on the floor under your desk with your hands covering your neck.

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