Red and I were visiting some of the residence when the fire alarm sounded, it was no drill and the order was given to evacuate the Mansion immediately. All of us – me too – went from room to room making sure the residents knew they had to leave and helping them when necessary, many use walkers or wheelchairs. Others are frail and unsteady.
The police chief pulled in the drive in a minute or two and some of the maintenance staff – they are trained firefighters – started a room to room check. The staff was extraordinarily calm and quick without showing any signs of panic and alarm, which could have been passed on to the residents.
Everyone was out of the building in under ten minutes, and the staff – supervisors and aides – carried chairs out quickly for those who needed to sit down. I was struck by the calm and professionalism, which was transmitted to the residents, who moved quickly and quietly outside.
There was no fire in the Mansion, all the rooms were carefully checked, something set one of the sensors off. Nobody got excited or too alarmed, everyone got to safety as quickly as humanly possible. It was a nice thing to see, we chatted with the residents, made sure they were comfortable, and then helped everyone back into their rooms.
I was especially impressed with the staff's demeanor, everyone knew what to do and where to go and the residents picked up quickly on their calm and quiet authority. I was thinking of all the possibilities, and felt especially grateful. Getting those people out so quickly and calmly was an impressive feat and would have made an enormous difference if the fire had been real.
I am a big fan of the Mansion staff,but I was much impressed with the way they handled it, and happy I was there to help out. Red was as usual, his efficient self, he got right to work, moving from resident to resident, and every one wanted to pet him and talk to him.