- A loud alarm designed to call large numbers of people to play a game of make-believe
- The alarm that cried wolf
- Not an actual drill made of fire
- A socially acceptable lie
Usage Example: “We had a fire drill at work today. Half of the office stayed in the building, and the other half went outside and drove home.”
Background: Fire alarms are important. In the event of a fire, people need as much warning as possible to make a safe exit from buildings. The fire drill was created, not only to annoy people, but to give people some practice exiting buildings in the event of a real emergency.
The term “fire drill” was invented to scare people. Fire drill pioneers thought that the term “make-believe play-fire” wasn’t terrifying enough. Instead, they opted for the image of a flaming power tool.
Fire drills take place during pre-planned intervals, when someone pulls a prank, or whenever there is any type of construction occurring within 100 feet of any fire alarm hardware. This means that some buildings run many fire drills. Over time, people who have been through many fire drills fail to take them seriously.
The fire drill response is a “choose your own adventure.” There are two ways to respond to a fire drill. The first type of response involves quick action and immediate joy. The drillee is overcome with happiness, because he/she has a perfect excuse to get out of whatever they are doing. This is a common response in schools and some offices.
The second type of response completes the following progression:
- Hear the fire drill
- Wonder why there are so many fire drills
- Sit for a minute and hope it stops
- Think of the weather outside.
- Decide that it is too hot, cold, rainy, etc.
- Hang around for another minute, hoping that the fire alarm will stop
- Slowly walk toward the door, still hoping that the fire alarm will stop
- Reluctantly walk out the door, just as the fire alarm stops
- Turn and walk back in the building