One morning as I sat in my chair typing away, trying to meet my writing deadline, I felt myself drifting away from my desk, as if someone was pulling my chair from behind. When I looked behind me, there was nobody and, for a moment, I was a little creeped out…until I remembered the news on the radio that morning. There was some volcanic activity near the Oldoiyo Lengai Mountain area near Arusha in Northern Tanzania and Nairobians were to expect some tremors.
When I looked up from my desk, it was the precise moment my boss looked up. I knew he had felt the tremor too and just as he walked out of his office towards the window, the fire alarm went off. I knew what I had to do. I saved my work on the computer, shut it down, gathered my belongings and locked my desk then I headed out the door.
As I stood outside the building with the rest of the crowd, staring up at the building housing our offices, I was joined by my colleagues who I’d left behind. I had urged them to leave the building immediately but they had dismissed the fire alarm as just a drill. Later on, they were herded out of the building in a hurry and were given no time to collect their belongings. Some of them had left their house keys, car keys, phones and wallets in the building.
It was 7pm by the time engineers to certify the building safe and my starving colleagues could collect their wallets and finally grab something to eat. I had long left for home and was watching the day’s events on the news. I learnt one thing that day 11 years ago. Never ignore a fire alarm even if it’s just to save your stomach.
Many alarm bells could be ringing in your life right now. Is this alarm to do with your mental or physical health? Your lifestyle? Your finances? Don’t ignore these crucial signs.