Thursday 23 February 2012

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The Hotel is on Fire...Please Stay Where You Are

There's some great things about having a hotel room on a high floor. The views tend to be nice, the noise from the street tends to be minimal (although the current trend of putting a nightclub on the roof of hotels is minimizing that benefit), and if you're checking out at the same time as everybody else, you can actually get on an elevator since it starts picking up from the top. When I'm riding an elevator up to a high floor however, the thoughts going through my mind are a little less positive. They tend to center on things like "I really hope I don't have to get out of here in a hurry for an emergency, because that's a lot of stairs!"

I've only once had to leave my hotel room for a fire alarm (although I just missed an earthquake evacuation at another hotel) and sure enough, we were on a high floor. We were staying at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, up on the 25th floor, and as usual for Lori and I in Vegas, we had gone to bed long before all the party people. When you don't drink and you can't dance, there's very few places of refuge for you on the strip after midnight, so Lori and I usually turn in early and start the next day well rested. That meant that we were sound asleep when a light in our room started flashing. Then came the buzz.

It was LOUD!

I scrambled out of bed and tried to gather myself. These white lights above our bed were flashing on and off every few seconds, and this loud "Mwaaawwwppp" sound kept repeating itself. It took me a few seconds since I'm not the most focused guy first thing in the morning, but eventually I realized that it was the fire alarm.

So I sat back down.

Now in hindsight, I'm not sure what the emergency would have had to be in order for me to maintain the level of alertness that I'd achieved when the alarm first sounded. You'd figure a fire in the hotel that you're staying near the top of would be enough to keep the adrenaline pumping, but apparently nothing short of an attack by a marauding band of ninjas would have kept me on my feet at that point (and I sincerely hope they'd have a completely different alarm for that situation). A few seconds after I sat down, a voice came over a loudspeaker in our room.

"We have received a notification that a fire alarm has been pulled. We are investigating. Please remain where you are and await further instructions."

At three in the morning, that made perfect sense.

So I laid back down, or at least I tried to. The white lights were still flashing and the alarm kept going, so sleep didn't seem likely. Combine that with the fact that Lori had taken advantage of my leap from the bed to steal all the blankets (she did wake up, she just never got out of bed), and I decided that I may as well get organized. I gathered a few things just in case we actually did have to leave, but about 20 minutes later the voice came back on the loudspeaker and said "All Clear".  

I appreciate the fact that they had to do a thorough investigation before cancelling the alarm, but 20 minutes was long enough for me to wake up fully, so I left Sleeping Beauty to her roll of king size bed sheets and went downstairs to check out the situation for myself. I inquired about the alarm at the front desk and was told that somebody in one of the clubs thought it would be funny to pull the fire alarm. Drunk humor - I don't get it - but what it meant for me was that I was up for the day far earlier than planned. I decided that I might as well play a little video poker since I was up, and maybe Lady Luck would take pity on me for the way the night had turned out.

Thank you Lady Luck. Have I mentioned that I didn't sleep well last night either?