Monday, January 26, 2015

Courthouse evacuation #2

A relatively small courthouse in Y County, four floors, was evacuated a while back.  When the emergency buzzer sounded, those of us who've been evacuated from way too many courthouses in our lives, hung back to see if it was a drill and the bailiff would let us loiter.

No such luck.

Bailiff:  "This is not a drill.  One of our emergency sensors was triggered.  We need everyone to exit the building.  Sorry for the inconvenience."

My hearing was in the courtroom on the first floor at the far end of the courthouse, so we all dutifully exited the building by way of an emergency exit located right outside the courtroom door. We then milled around in the parking lot for about 30 minutes until we were allowed back inside, unfortunately having to trek to the main entrance for re-entry, along with everyone else.

My life continued as usual, and I'd almost forgotten about this incident until the next time I found myself at that courthouse.

Me, to bailiff:  "Remember that evacuation a few weeks ago?"

Bailiff, smile on his face:  "Oh, yeah."

Me:  "What triggered the sensor?"

Bailiff, pulling me aside, lowering his voice:  "We have a new judge here.  He had a little, um, stomach trouble.  After using his private bathroom, and to avoid tell-tale aroma, he sprayed some air freshener when he was finished."  Big smile.

Me:  "I don't get it.  What set off the alarm?"

Bailiff:  "He sprayed the air freshener a little too close to the smoke sensor."

So we evacuated an entire four-floor courthouse because a judge needed air freshener in his bathroom, which a sensor interpreted as smoke. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the next judge's meeting.  Poor guy.  I wonder if the other judges take him seriously yet.

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