Why didn’t they use the fire doors?

The other day, just after I finished my post on the “communication shutdown” supposedly in aid of autism, the fire alarm went off in the Bentalls centre in Kingston where I had written it (in the Apple Store). Of course, I had to ask the staff whether I was meant to be evacuating, as hearing alarms of one sort or another happens a lot there and nobody seemed to be in a hurry to leave.

I couldn’t help but notice loads of people crowding round the escalator which would have been pretty dangerous if it hadn’t been a false alarm. When I was a kid, I used to be fascinated by the thought of going through one of those doors you couldn’t go through (except in an emergency), although anyone who’s ever been a delivery driver knows that there’s not much exciting behind them, only long, dimly-lit corridors with breeze block walls. However, yesterday I headed for the nearest fire exit and probably got out quicker than if I’d waited for a place on the escalator. Perhaps they should make the signs light up so people know they should use all the exits.

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