Fire safety and knowing how to safely evacuate a building are crucial to ensure your safety and security. In fact, fires happen all the time, and according to the NFPA there are about 1.2 million fires reported in the US each year and Can we learn fire safety tips from three of the most popular comedy shows?
THE OFFICE: FIRE ALARM
The Scene: In one of the most famous cold-openings of an Office episode, Dwight simulates a fire drill by lighting a small fire in a garbage can and cutting the phone lines. The fire alarm sounds, but unfortunately none of the workers know what to do and mass panic ensues. Dwight had also locked the main exit points and forced everyone to quickly think of an alternate route out. Oscar tries the ceiling, Michael tries getting help from the window, and Kevin, well, he goes straight for the candy machine. In the end Dwight announces that it’s a drill but Stanley suffers a heart attack from all the panic.
What we can learn: Every employee should know the evacuation plan of their office and its not a bad idea to practice this plan several times a year. Moreover, fire safety practices should be taught to all employees to prevent and avoid fires. Hardcore Office fans will remember that Ryan started a microwave fire in season 1, and it’s those types of fires that can be avoided .
FRIENDS: FIRE ESCAPE
The Scene: After getting stuck on the roof, Joey and Ross are forced to use the fire escape to get down the side of the building. They eventually realize that the fire escape is locked and doesn’t go all the way down, and that they might have to jump the rest of the way. After realizing they have no alternatives, Joey climbs down to hang from the fire escape while Ross uses Joey as a ladder, lowering himself a little before fallingto the ground. At the very end, Joey is left hanging but we’ll assume he gets down safely, because he does appear in the next episode.
What we can learn: Many older buildings in New York have external fire escapes which can be useful escapes in the event of a real fire. However, these escapes are pretty much useless if they’re locked or if one has to jump to reach the bottom. If you live in an apartment with a fire escape, make sure you know how to use it and that it’s safe to use. In the event of a fire it’s always important to have an alternate routeout in case the hall and stairs are filled with smoke.
SEINFELD: GEORGE PUSHES KIDS OUT OF THE WAY
The Scene: George is at a kid’s birthday party when he goes into the kitchen because he smells smoke. Soon, he discovers a fire in the kitchen and screams “Fire! Get out of here.” George then pushes aside the clown, an old lady with a walker, and a bunch of kids, so that he can safely get out before its too late. Lovable George is then chastised by the fire department and defends himself by saying that he was actually a hero and a leader because his plan was to lead the way out, thus he had to be the first one. Furthermore, he tells them that he pushed people down because in a fire you need to stay close to the ground.
What we can learn: Actually, a lot! First of all, it’s important not to leave anything cooking unattended as almost half of all home fires start in the kitchen. Second, if you do see a fire, stay calm, don’t scream and make everyone panic, especially at a kids birthday party! Third, and hopefully, this one’s obvious, when evacuating due to a fire, don’t push anyone out of the way, especially if they’re young or disabled. And lastly, if you’re hosting a children’s birthday party, do not invite George Costanza!