This afternoon I was at a pretty crowded Chestnut Hill Mall when a strobe light started flashing and a siren started honking.
It took me a few seconds to realize that — it wasn’t that someone just left a store with a security tag on — but that this was a fire alarm. And it wasn’t just in the store I was in. Lights were flashing and a siren was going of in whole mall.
So I did what I was taught to do in kindergarten, which was head for the nearest exit. Many other people did too.
But surprisingly not that many. In fact, I’d say that about 50-60 percent of the shoppers left, while the other 40-50 percent kept on shopping, including some folks with small children.
Because my car was parked on the opposite side of the building, I had to walk around outside the whole mall. I noticed that that not that many people seemed to be leaving the upper level stores either. In fact, through the window of the new Pepe’s Pizza, I could see quite a few people, sitting and enjoying their lunch. One shopper told me the store clerk where she was told everyone they had to leave, but that not everyone seemed to be in much of a hurry.
I didn’t smell or see any smoke. No one outside appeared to have seen anything either. Off in the distance I could hear fire trucks heading in our direction so I knew this was going to take a while and left. But I called the mall about 45 minutes later and they said they were open again, so I’m assuming it was a false alarm.
But I’m still puzzled why more people didn’t leave. Perhaps I’m overly sensitized after the attacks in Paris, Colorado and San Bernardino but why take a chance?
Am I over reacting?