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4:13pm on Wednesday, 20th April, 2016:

Beep ... Beep ... Beep


I was waiting in the foyer today to pick up would-be students for interview. The reason I was waiting was that the initial talk overran and it threw the whole schedule out. This meant I had to spend ten minutes listening to the constant beep ... beep ... beep of the fire warning alert.

This beep is intensely annoying, but of course it's designed that way to attract attention. Unfortunately, it gets none. There's a sophisticated fire alert system installed, and here's what it says on the display:

So there's a panic alarm going off in the Careers Centre on level 4 (which is "ground" level) of what is officially designated the mathematics department.

Yes, there is. This is because the people in the Careers Centre have opened a door which is alarmed. They don't hear the constant beeping, but anyone entering Computer Science is subjected to it. They're not panicked, they just opened a door they wanted to be open that isn't supposed to be opened except in emergencies.

To turn off the alarm, the security officers have to reset the system. That means there's no fire alarm coverage, so they have to evacuate the whole building while they do it. Last time they did it, we lasted beep-free for almost a whole day before someone in the Careers Centre opened the emergency door again because they wanted to get out onto square 2 without having to walk ten paces to the door they should be using.

This always happens. I'm pretty sure that Security has given up in despair.

Meanwhile, if there were an actual fire and someone opened an emergency door in an actual emergency, no-one would notice because we're all so used to the damned beeping that we'd think it was just the Careers Centre beep that's been beeping ceaselessly for the past three months.

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Copyright © 2016 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).