This was only a test; if this had been an actual concert…

I dreamed that there was a fire in Benaroya Hall during a concert. The flames swirled overhead up by the ceiling.

The exit doors had been blocked by security, so people flowed from door to door looking for a way out.

Ha-ha, it was just a drill, and the flames were pyrotechnics.

This dream brought to you by Great Ideas in Public Safety.

Comments (10)
  1. Anon says:

    I've always wanted to see pyrotechnics during a fire drill, with smoke.

    What good is a test, after all, if it doesn't replicate real-world conditions? One of the worst tragedies of 9/11 was that most people could've been saved if they hadn't become panicky animals the moment something unexpected happened.

    Same for all emergencies, really. As soon as there's some smoke, people begin to trample each other to death.

    Alternately, we should play "This is a Drill" messages during every emergency.

  2. Damien says:

    You mean like the time that Boston Airport held a fire drill on 9/11?

  3. alegr1 says:

    Lookup "The Station nightclub fire".

  4. Rick C says:

    @Anon, what are you talking about?  What panicky animals?  Most people did get out.  The ones who didn't were mainly the ones above the plane impacts, who couldn't get out because the stairwells were on fire.

  5. Ken in NH says:

    Please Raymond, don't give them any ideas. They're bad enough as it is:…/schoool-employee-dresses-up-as-fake-gunman-to-teach-students-lesson

    [I guess it wasn't clear. The title "Great Ideas in X" was being used ironically. -Raymond]
  6. j b says:


    I am not able to recall many specific envents from my grade school years, 45+ years ago, but one that still stands clear in my memory is the fire drill with real fire trucks and sierens and "the works". And they had placed this huge, flat steel tray – it must have been at least fifteen feet square – in the schoolyard, pouring gasoline and oil into it, and set in on fire, letting it really catch, with heavy black smoke, before they showed us how they could put it out using foam fire extinguishers. (No, they did NOT use water with burning oil/gasoline!).

    I think that display tops the list of memorable events from my grade school years. It did give us a real-life feeling of what a real fire looks like – the intense heat, the smoke, the noise from the burning. Without being a spectactular new-years-style firework, but something showing us the true power of a big fire. The stuff they call "silent knowledge" – the things that cannot be learnt from reading a textbook; you learn it only by personal experience, by being there. Fortunately, we could do this learning in a controlled environment, at a low risk. Still I think it made all of us understand a lot better what a real fire is really about.

  7. My first thought was "Smoke on the Water".

  8. cheong00 says:

    @Ken: I think it's good. If you pre-announced there's a drill, people often refuse to move. I remembered a fire drill a few years ago at IFC here, less than one-third of people working inside running out to the instructed "safe place".

    You need to frighten or cause panic to people in order to get the real performance at drills. Just remember to send apologies afterwards and I'll be fine with that.

  9. Neil says:

    @cheong00 I was on the phone to my boss when there was a fire drill. Things didn't end well.

  10. cheong00 says:

    @Neil: When your building is known to have fire drills that's not pre-announced, just make sure you send the "after drill" later sent by building managements to your boas and it should be fine.

    How-the-H can you know whether it's a drill or not?

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