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coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State

Fire Alarm at work

So the fire alarm went off at work today, and we were all standing outside in the cold for an hour. It's about 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and I have to say, it was chilly.

My question is this though, after so long of standing outside in the cold, isn't there a point where they're supposed to just send us home and comp us for the day? If it's a state law or something, we're in Utah if that matters.

faze

join:2011-01-10
Reisterstown, MD
Wrong forum I think? This is about broadband tech...


CCat
We're all quite mad here
Premium,MVM
join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
kudos:19
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
I think the hamsters got loose again and rearranged the forums.



coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
reply to faze
You are very right, my apologies. I was trying to post in just General, not Broadband Tech general. Can a mod move this over for me?


CCat
We're all quite mad here
Premium,MVM
join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
kudos:19
You did post in the general forum.

coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
said by CCat:

You did post in the general forum.

shoot, I must be confused. I saw some guy post about a car rental, and get responses, so I thought this was the place to post random stuff?


CCat
We're all quite mad here
Premium,MVM
join:2005-12-06
Wonderland
kudos:19
It is...but its listed under broadband tech for some reason


CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to coma9
You should search the state laws but I can't imagine a state that would allow this - not even California.
--
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Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:10

1 recommendation

reply to coma9

Re: Fire Alarm at work

Why didn't you go sit in your car or a co-worker's car instead of freezing?


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to coma9
If a fire alarm went off around here, we'd all just stand around. Only thing that gets people leaving is an earthquake or a bomb threat.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
said by J E F F:

If a fire alarm went off around here, we'd all just stand around. Only thing that gets people leaving is an earthquake or a bomb threat.

Then it's not loud enough...

graniterock
Premium
join:2003-03-14
London, ON
Reviews:
·WIND Mobile
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to coma9
Clearly your companies emergency plan needs to be updated on how to handle building evacuations in cold weather.

My wife used to work in a call centre and when they had an evacuation everyone lit up their cigarettes.... my wife was told she couldn't leave the corner of the parking lot they were standing in even though she wanted to avoid the smoke. I told her next time to tell them to shove it and go hangout across the street and if they have a problem to contact the health unit about workplace smoke inhalation legislation.

You may have been able to do similar if the cold was starting to create health risks for you and your co-workers. At least up where I live there are laws about safe work place and the right to refuse unsafe work. If your workplace requires you to stand in freezing temperatures without the appropriate protection during an evacuation, that is a problem.

mocycler
Premium
join:2001-01-22
kudos:1

1 edit

2 recommendations

reply to coma9
said by coma9:

My question is this though, after so long of standing outside in the cold, isn't there a point where they're supposed to just send us home and comp us for the day? If it's a state law or something, we're in Utah if that matters.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: There is no law in Utah or anywhere that says there is a time limit for how long they can make you wait outside while a fire alarm clears. You are still on the clock. If they want to pay you to stand around, then that's their call to make.

However, there are rules about your employer's obligation to provide a safe work environment, and one could plausibly argue that twenty minutes outside in the cold without proper apparel is a health & safety hazard. In that case you could have sat in your car with the heater on, gone to a nearby mall or business and waited it out, or gone home. If you go home they do not have to pay you and they probably do not have to excuse the absence.

You sound like a young person or someone without a lot of work experience. In your career you will be asked to do a lot of things that are not pleasant. There is no "right" to time off with pay over every little discomfort. Get over it. Move on.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to coma9
BTW, it was in the 50's today.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Johkal
said by Johkal:

Why didn't you go sit in your car or a co-worker's car instead of freezing?

I was thinking that and then thought... if the person thought they should go home, how would they get there? Walk? I guess they could tell you to go home and then send you into the burning building to get your keys. Had your keys? Sit in your car.

coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
reply to tcope
said by tcope:

BTW, it was in the 50's today.


at 8 in the morning? I don't think so. Not sure when you go to work, but it wasn't in the 50s until afternoon or one.

coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
reply to mocycler
said by mocycler:

said by coma9:

My question is this though, after so long of standing outside in the cold, isn't there a point where they're supposed to just send us home and comp us for the day? If it's a state law or something, we're in Utah if that matters.

You sound like a young person or someone without a lot of work experience. In your career you will be asked to do a lot of things that are not pleasant. There is no "right" to time off with pay over every little discomfort. Get over it. Move on.

Yes, for the women standing outside in 20 degree weather wearing dresses and skirts, for an hour, let's just tell them to move on, and get over it. This isn't a job where they often ask you to do anything other than what's exactly in the job description, and the emergency planning was horrendous to say the least. Watching everyone slowly trickle out of the building was a joke, and the 15 minutes it took the fire department to even arrive was even more of a laughing matter. Had it been a live fire or dangerous situation, it would have ended very ugly.
Myself, had no problem standing outside, but felt very sorry for the people with nothing covering their legs.

coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
reply to Johkal
said by Johkal:

Why didn't you go sit in your car or a co-worker's car instead of freezing?

Because they had to do a head count, and keep everyone grouped together away from the building, in case of actual emergency.


totamak
And they call me nuts?

join:2000-10-24
Los Angeles, CA

2 recommendations

reply to coma9
So no one bothers to grab their coats, gloves, and what not they had on in the morning coming into work. Just left those behind? Seriously. A fire alarm doesn't mean you can't take a few seconds to grab one's cold weather clothing, then go.


Fire Alarm

@optonline.net
reply to coma9
I learned a long time ago that I should do what's best for myself, not what my employer tells me to do. (That was in 1984, when the parking lot was flooding and we were told not to leave. We ended up being evacuated by the National Guard and our cars got flooded with up to 4 feet of water. The smart people left even though the company told them to stay.)

When our fire alarm goes off, I walk to my office and get my coat, even if it takes me an extra 3 minutes to leave the building. I don't care that the policy says to leave immediately, if it's cold outside, I'm getting my coat. And if the building is actually on fire, I'm not going to wait in the designated assembly zone, I'm climbing over the chain link fence and getting the hell out of there.

Our evacuation policy says smoking is prohibited while waiting outside the building.


Johkal
Cool Cat
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join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:10

1 recommendation

reply to coma9
said by coma9:

said by Johkal:

Why didn't you go sit in your car or a co-worker's car instead of freezing?

Because they had to do a head count, and keep everyone grouped together away from the building, in case of actual emergency.

I fully understand. Where I work, once they do the head count & mark your name off, you are allowed to sit in your car.
--
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Fir_Na_Tine
Giggity Giggity
Premium
join:2001-01-03
Sout Joisy
reply to coma9

Re: Fire Alarm at work

I doubt theres any law. Was this a planned fire drill? False alarm? 15-20 minutes out in the cold sucks but I don't think its dangerous. If its longer then they should come up with a procedure to get people to shelter after the head count, or let them goto their cars


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

reply to totamak
said by totamak:

So no one bothers to grab their coats, gloves, and what not they had on in the morning coming into work.

Yes, really!!

I used to work in a secure lab. I'd lock up what had to be locked up, shut things down, grab my coat and KEYS and then leave. One time we were out for well over an hour before the building was cleared to return.
--
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." Jonathan Swift

coma9

join:2013-02-05
United State
reply to Fir_Na_Tine
said by Fir_Na_Tine:

I doubt theres any law. Was this a planned fire drill? False alarm? 15-20 minutes out in the cold sucks but I don't think its dangerous. If its longer then they should come up with a procedure to get people to shelter after the head count, or let them goto their cars

Wasn't planned, and lasted a little over an hour. Was a false alarm, sensor malfunctioned.
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