Operation Action

I had to wait outside the door of our office the other day because I lost had a mishap with my keys. While waiting, I decided I’d make the most of my time and read the nicely printed out note on the wall on emergency procedures for our building. It’s a very big, five-storeyed building full of people and laboratories and all manner of ‘potentially dangerous’ things, so it was probably a good thing for me to read. In losing themselves having a mishap, my keys were just making sure I keep up-to-date.

But. And there’s a huge but. I was horrified by a certain aspect of the (very long) procedures to be followed in case of fire. I fear I may need to send this letter to them:

Dear Safety People,

Firstly, thank you for trying to look after our safety, a thankless task I would imagine, involving much sitting around tables discussing and getting agitated and making procedures. I’m not a fan of meetings, or making procedures for that matter. Beauracracy makes me yawn. So, really, I’m thankful that you guys do it.

I must, however, make a suggestion. In the case of fire, you recommend that the person alerting everyone should shout “Operation Action”. Now, had I not lost had a misshap with my keys, I may never have read the whole procedure and known this. I do realize that we’re all supposed to have read it but, honestly, when faced with a choice between reading the Health and Safety Policies and, well, pretty much anything else, I’m afraid many of us would choose pretty much anything else. It’s just the way it is. So, other people who have not lost had a mishap with their keys may not have read it.

Back to my point. I did read it, and was horrified by the “Operation Action” signal. Honestly, if I were to see some panicked soul running around the building shouting “Operation Action” I would fully suspect that he was either (a) escaped from the psychiatric unit, or (b) pretending to be in a computer game, or (c) part of a film crew filming an action adventure in our building. It would not cross my mind that there was a fire. At all.

May I suggest, therefore, that perhaps it’d be better for the alerter to shout something more simple and understandable to mere mortals like me, who are not part of the Health and Safety Board. Perhaps something like:


Just a thought, take it or leave it. I do realize you’re the experts. Again, thank you for trying to look after our safety. It is appreciated.

Love, Briony x

Even I couldn’t make this stuff up. “Operation Action.” Seriously?

This entry was posted in Navel-Gazing & Storytelling and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Operation Action

  1. Reminds me of Inspector Sands. Now and then on the London Underground a clipped 1940’s male voice can he heard repeatedly imploring a mysterious Inspector Sands to report to the operations room immediately. The thing is we all mostly now know in the Internet/Pub Trivia Age that this is station code for a bomb scare. So really, they might as well come on and say FUUUUUU, THERE”S A FREAKING BOMB YO!”

  2. Aaah… this made me smile. Great post.

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