Well, that sucked.
I finally got some good sleep (that last entry was written under Klonopin sedation, which is why it might not make much sense)...for about three hours.
1:30 is the last time I remember on the alarm clock, and turning over, and I was dead to the world. Until I heard a faint ringing sound. My addled brain took a few minutes to parse that it wasn't a normal sound, and I wondered if I was hearing water in the pipes or something else. So I get up and go out in my living room and it hasn't gone away, and my addled brain finally makes the connection that the fire alarm system here is not horns, like I was used to in the dorms, but bells, and that it was going off.
Time? Very shortly after 4 AM.
So after an hour and a half of waiting for the fire department, and letting the fire department inspect the building, we've learned a few things. First of all, intentional fire alarm pulls suck, and a pox on whomever pulled it. Second, the closest fire department (51st St, near Telegraph Ave, which is pretty much down the street) was out on a call, so we got a response from the Miles St. station, which is a bit further away from here, and thus the fire department response time wasn't good.
So yeah, we learned a few things. First of all, most people didn't leave the building assuming it was a false alarm. The people who left seemed to be those with either traumatic experiences involving a fire alarm or those who lived in a shared housing situation that threatened you with fines for failing to leave a building in which a fire alarm had been pulled. (I fall in the latter, with five years of University Housing, and Berkeley Fire Department doesn't put up with nonsense from the students. And I had one sadistic RD who did a practice drill at 2 AM.)
Second, the building isn't as safe as the fire department would like. They suggested to Agnes (my building manager) that there be signage that deliniates the exits in the building. Now, I happen to know all of 'em, but that's because I take the time to figure out the different exits, it's something I've done since I've lived in University Housing. So I know that my first way out is out my apartment door and down the center stairwell, and then along the corridor on the first floor to the front door. if that way is blocked by fire, make the left at the door and walk to the end of the hallway and out the fire escape there. The third way is to make a right and head down the long corridor to the end, down a flight of steps, out the door, around the corner of the building, down another flight of stairs past the garage, and then a rickity set of stairs through ivy and through the gate at the bottom. If all exits are blocked by fire, retreat back into apartment and then out onto the balcony, and wait for the Fire Department there. I know my building.
But that's fire alarms for you. So now I guess it's time for me to try and get some more good sleep. At least the Klonopin is still working (anxiety levels are down), and I should be able to get back to sleep, but this really sucked.