It was surprise to me when I learned yesterday that our fire alarm was not connected to the fire station system. I would have expected that so that the fire people know automatically when there is an alarm. It doesn't happen to be the case for this building though.
Yesterday around 5:00pm I was feeling drowsy because of a late full lunch, so I though of taking a half-hour nap. Just after 5 minutes of lying down, I heard an alarm which sounded like one of our alarm clocks but as if it was in the other room. I waited for about 5 seconds and then got up to turn it off. But the sound was coming from a different direction: the hallway! Then it hit me it was a fire alarm.
So I went out and tried to sniff in the hallway and then from the windows: no smoke. Relieved, I picked up my laptop and put it in its bag, disconnected my hard disk (which contains nightly backups) and put it in the same bag. I was going down the stairs after picking my SLR's bag.
On reaching down I saw the usual scene: everyone was in the entrance hall - blocking the entry!! When will they learn?
I went out and tried to scan for distant fire truck alarms. Nothing! I waited for about 5 minutes and still nothing. So I finally decided to go around the corner (fire station is in the same block) and ask the gentlemen in the fire station if it was a holiday ;). One of the fire men opened and asked what I wanted. I told him that there was a fire alarm and it was going on since the last 10 minutes. He calmly jotted down the address and told someone on this communication device about it too.
About 2 minutes after I gave them the information, I saw the first fire truck rushing towards us, and within another minute they had 3 more standing in front of our building.
In the end, it turned out that there was no fire but probably a prank! But one thing I will keep in mind is call 911 in case of a fire alarm even if the fire system is connected to theirs. Secondly, I was really surprised that none of the other residents though of calling 911 before going down the stairway.