by Marinka on July 24, 2010

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but last year I was selected to be the emergency coordinator for my floor at work.  I assume it’s because everyone knew that I’d be sure to grab the snacks on my way while evacuating, so at the very least we wouldn’t starve to death.

I had to go to Special Training, with other heroes-in-waiting and I did my best not to pass out while the guy in charge said things like “in NYC in this day in age, you have your challenges.  You have your terrorist attacks, your steam pipe explosions, your black-outs, your dirty bombs.”  (By the way, welcome to New York City, BlogHer friends! It’s going to be great! Never a dull moment!)

I think the point was to tell us that we needed to update our instinct to Get The Fuck Out of There in case of an emergency and assess the situation.  Because if there’s a tornado or something blowing down Fifth Avenue, you should probably stay inside for safety.  So as not to get sideswiped by Toto.  Unfortunately, my takeaway message was that we’re all going to die and I’ll be the last one out of the building while we’re doing it.

We got an official  Emergency Action Plan booklet, which I immediately buried in an effort to make it go away, but  then I decided to study it.

I didn’t want to mess around with natural disasters, so I went straight for Part 8.  Emergency Action Plan Procedures for a Nuclear Incident or Release.

So, here’s what you do!

If there’s a nuclear blast, you should take cover immediately, preferably below ground.  This is not good news for people who are, you know, working in a high rise.  Then, or maybe before then, you should assess the situation.   I would like some more information about that, please.  Like, how exactly, does this assessment go?

“We are really fucked!”

“Let’s check Twitter!”

“I’m getting a glow-in-the-dark Fail Whale.”

THEN, it says that you are either supposed to take potassium iodide tablets or you are not supposed to take them.  And they encourage you to call your doctor ahead of time to discuss this issue.  Helpfully, the manual suggests that you do this ahead of the nuclear attack.  You know, in case it’s hard to get your doctor on the phone in a middle of a nuclear attack.

Also, you’re supposed to put a barrier between yourself and the nuclear incident.  I asked John if he would do me the honor and be my barrier.

Between the barrier, the assessment, and the calling the doctor, this whole nuclear thing sounds like a huge pain in the ass.

One year ago ...

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Welcome July 24, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I am cracking up at your post.

I remember the blackout of … what is it … 2003? It was so hot all the air conditioners took out the entire city’s electricity for a weekend. A couple of minutes later and I would have been one of the ones stuck in an elevator for 12 hours, getting passed adult diapers through the breathe-hole.

Instead I walked from 40th and Park to Battery Park City, which launched the 9 months of throwing up from my new pregnancy. I’m sure it was that.


anymommy July 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Glow in the dark fail whale. Brilliance.


July 24, 2010 at 5:03 pm

My father remembers “bomb drills” from his childhood, which meant, you know, atom bombs being dropped by angry Russians (sorry) on his small midwestern town. The drill? Drop to your knees, get under your desk, and put your arms over your head.

What can I say. It was a more innocent time. Perhaps you could conduct these drills with your co-workers, mostly just to laugh at them cowering under their cubicles.
Is that mean? It’s for their own safety, after all.


dusty earth mother July 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Not only are you hilarious, but you are full of helpful information. Potassium iodide tablets in a nuclear blast? Who knew?


Halala Mama
July 25, 2010 at 12:04 am

Okay, wait, what? You have a job? How have I ever missed that?


Kate Coveny Hood
July 25, 2010 at 12:08 am

I think that “I’m getting a glow-in-the-dark Fail Whale” is the funniest thing I’ve read all week (and still would have been even if I wasn’t in Twitter boot camp for the past 7 days). Can’t wait to see you (and hear you speak!) in less than two weeks.


July 25, 2010 at 1:30 am

I’m with Halala. You have a job?? I don’t remember hearing about that… I think you should have us submit guesses….


Jonathan July 25, 2010 at 3:03 am

I remember those potassium iodide tablets being big after 9/11. They were supposed to have 2 in the safe for everyone who requested them and you had to fill out a form to say you wanted them and like you said there was a lot of discussion on whether or not to take them and no one knew what was going on or what we would do if we couldn’t get to the safe. I just realized I forgot to ask for my dosage to take with me when I quit working there!


Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels
July 25, 2010 at 3:08 am

I think you’d be great in the event of a disaster. Fucks the tablets, snacks are what people will be fighting over. And probably the right to use the bathroom.

BTW, another category of people who will have a hard time getting underground? Claustrophobics. The idea of going into the basement of a high-rise, with 30 floors of cement and steel above my head, has me reaching for comfort food right now – ’cause I don’t do drugs. Because sometimes it’s a choice between being an OTC or prescription drug addict and a fatty.

I know what you are thinking, I would be a great companion in case of a disaster, judging by the rambling.


Maravonda July 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I know that you volunteered for the emergency person position just so you could amass fodder for the blog. Why can’t you use these abilities for good, rather than evil, Marinka dear?
BTW, please continue… 🙂


christy July 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Glow in the dark fail whale? Where do you come up with this stuff?! Can’t wait to see your session and go to your party!


July 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I live 20 miles from a nuke plant and I’m telling you, we’re all totally screwed. Do I read the annual 9×12 1/2″ thick preparedness book? The one that comes with a handy calendar for my wall. Each month a different town’s evacuation route is shown for display. I mean really, how nifty is that? Do I read it and hang that calendar? Hell no. We’re dead whether it’s from the wafting nuclear debris or from being run down by the panic-stricken folks using their cars as tools of mass destruction to get out of Dodge. I’m going to enjoy my last Twinkies in peace. I hear you can store them forever and they never go bad.


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