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6:55pm on Saturday, 5th November, 2016:



It's 2:50am. The fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

Well, you get up, get dressed, and ... ah, the fire alarm shuts off.

It's 3:05am. The fire alar goes off. What do you do?

Well, you do the same as you did at2:50am.

It's 3:20am. The fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

Well, you know now that there's a fault somewhere. It may be just affecting you, or it could be affecting other people in adjacent rooms. You don't know if the alarm is running low on batteries, or if it's maybe a carbon monoxide alarm or a burglar alarm rather than a fire alarm.

Actually, you do know that it's not running low on batteries, because this isn't a polite, battery-conserving cheep it's emitting: this is a full-on BEEP-BEEP-BEEP that continues for between one a five minutes, every fifteen minutes in the dead of night when you're trying to sleep.

This is my situation last night. The BEEP-BEEP-BEEP was so loud it woke the guy in the next room. It was incessant. I tried to find the smoke detector to disable it, but couldn't; even if I had done, though, I couldn't have taken the batteries out because this is a non-smoking room and they protect the smoke detector from guest interference.

I could have gone to the office to ask the people there to switch off the alarm. It wouldn't have done any good, because the office was empty: the hotel owners live a 15-minute drive away. I'd have had to have phoned the toll-free number, which I couldn't do on my UK mobile phone but could perhaps have done via Skype.

I ran the sums, though, and figured that the amount of sleep I'd lose by trying to find someone who could fix the alarm would be greater than the amount I lost from being woken up every15 minutes. I therefore covered my head with one of the enormous pillows on the bed (because the alarm was really, really penetrating, and is probably banned under strategic weapon conventions) and went back to sleep. I must have been awoken by it 20 times before I got up for breakfast.

I'm actually quite impressed I did manage to get back to sleep each time.

Oh, it turned out that the smoke detector was faulty and was detecting smoke when there was none. Still, I'd rather it do that than not detect smoke when there was some.

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