Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My First Encounter with the FDNY

While Natasha and I were watching this week's NetFlix pick, a "reminder of why we should just continue ordering in" set off our First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector, which - up until this evening - we had thought was a smoke alarm. And which - up until this evening - we had not realized we did not have.

In any case, after 20 minutes of silencing the alarm - only to have it continue to go off every few minutes, sliding different parts of it in and out, calling my dad for advice, opening all the windows, and running the air conditioner full blast, we decided to call the FDNY to our rescue.

Unfortunately, our Manhattan Yellowpages phonebook referred us from "Fire Department" to "Emergency" to "Medical Services" with no listing for the fire department that we pass everyday walking down 8th Avenue. And none of the numbers we found on seemed to be getting us through to anyone of authority. So after much debate over whether I should dial 911 without a raging fire, a severed leg or a carving knife embedded in my neck, I pressed 9-1-1 into my cell phone, gulped and hit Send.

911 Operator: 9-1-1. What's your location?
Me: [Address eradicated]
911 Operator: You're between Eighth and Ninth Avenues?
Me: Yes.
911 Operator: Thank you. What's your emergency?
Me: [in my head: oye, it's not really an emergency per se] I'm actually trying to call a fire department in our neighborhood to ask someone to check our carbon monoxide alarm.
911 Operator: Ok. You have to connect to the fire department through 9-1-1. I'll patch you through.
Me: Thank you.

Fire Department Dispatch: New York Fire Department
Me: Hi, I'm calling because our carbon monoxide detector has been going off for awhile even though we have ventilated our apartment.
Fire Department Dispatch: No problem. We can definitely help you with that. What's your location?
Me: [Address eradicated]
Fire Department Dispatch: And you're between which avenues?
Me: Eighth and Ninth.
Fire Department Dispatch: We'll send someone right over.
Me: Thank you.

I walked back out to the living room, where Natasha was still poking and proding our molested carbon monoxide detector, which was continuing to warn us to "Move to Fresh Air". Then we waited, assuming that a small fire fighter pick-up truck with a few axes and a step ladder on the back was going to show up at some point. Instead, within minutes, we heard wailing sirens and saw flashing red lights dancing on our bedroom walls.

"Oh my God," Natasha said. "That's for us."

"No, it's not!" I exclaimed as we raced to my bedroom window and saw this (two fire trucks and about a dozen first responders):

Seconds later, four fire fighters in full gear, complete with hard hats, fire-retardant coats, oxygen tanks and axes had hiked to our fifth floor apartment and sauntered into our living room, where Natasha was peering at them from the couch, and I was leaning against the kitchen counter eating a bowl of rice. As I lamented over the fact that they had just climbed four flights of stairs in heavy gear, I couldn't help but wonder if we should feign carbon monoxide disorientation and dizziness to at least make the whole embarrassing scene look like a real emergency.

In a prompt and professional manner, they took carbon monoxide readings in our rooms, reset our carbon monoxide detector and taught us how to use it. And with a tip of their hats, they were off into the night to save the Manhattanites with real emergencies.

As I watched the taillights of the fire trucks disappear, I heard Natasha call from the living room, "Well ... and now back to our regularly scheduled programming."

Thank you, FDNY!

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: No post


Dina said...

That was a great story!! not long ago, my daughter was coughing EXCESSIVELY. couldn't stop. I googled it...ASTHMA ATTACK!! I freaked , called 9-1-1. only 2 minutes later she finally began to slow down. by the time they got there, outside my dooor, was a looooong fire truck & an ambulance with 15 of those guys in my little one bedroom!!! of COURSE she completely STOPPED when she saw them all. I almost WISHED it would continue, because I was soooo embarrassed!!!

Todd said...

So were the readings they took different then what your meter was saying?

I'm glad you're okay!

Tricia Hicks said...

Katie....I love your life. I love my livin in Music City out in the country but close to Target etc. life also, but I really love yours. It's been way too long since I've been to NYC.