take the stairs

It’s business as usual at your desk and you smell smoke.

What would you do? 

Be honest.

Chances are, your response says alot about how you handle yourself when there’s a potential crisis in other areas of your life.  And maybe this is consistent with who you want to be. 

Or not.

Do you ignore it? 

Call it burned toast and go back to what you were doin?

Figure someone else will come to your door if there’s really a fire?

Fly outta your seat yelling fire at the top of your lungs?

I’m not sure my own self awareness in this area is spot on — but I do have a new benchmark for how I’d like to behave thanks to words from a retired FDNY firefighter.

I mean, who better to give employees tips on gettin’ out alive?

Having a plan that includes knowing where the exits are ahead of time was his first point.  Finding the stairwells for the first time in panic mode is just not a good idea.  And if you think it doesn’t matter — that others are going to just take you along — well, that’s not smart either.

Verify the facts and communicate quickly.  Is the fire burning below you?  Or above?  Are the stairwells smoky and incinerator hot?

Think of others and stay together — does anyone need help?  Where will your group meet when you reach street level?  If you go your own way and don’t report in, others may risk their lives when they realize you are missing in action.

Seems like there’s plenty to take to the relationship streets in these practical words. 

And next time I smell smoke, I’m gonna remember them. 

That, and the fact that smoke kills more people than fire — so you gotta get below it. 

Yep.  Get on your bellies — stick together —

and crawl to safety.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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