Friday, June 03, 2005

Protected Zone

The first house my older sister and brother-in-law inhabited had a very obnoxiously loud alarm system. A series of alarms would go off that sounded like tornado warning sirens and then this deep, booming recorded voice would bellow:

YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

It took them a while to get the routine down. I think this particular system had all the latest (for its time - 10 years ago) bells and whistles. Different rooms could be set for different levels of security - it was all very complicated.

In the middle of the night one fateful evening, my sister and BIL, brother-in-law, were rudely awoken by the alarm. It was 3 am. My BIL was still on the police force at the time so he sprung into action. First he had to find his pants - TMI, I know. Then he grabbed his gun and instructed my sister to call 911. My sister lunged for the phone, adrenaline pumping full speed. No dial tone.

Sis: They’ve CUT the phone lines!!!
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
BIL: Who...what? Call 911!
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Sis: I can’t the phone won’t work!
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
BIL: Jiggle the cord first. (It is of note that my sister had a bad habit of stringing multiple phone cords together back then for perfect phone placement in the room - this sometimes rendered the phone useless)
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
BIL: Call the police, I am going downstairs.
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Sis: (Frantically checking/jiggling all the connections of the multiple extension cords- finally a dial tone- she dials)
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Operator: What City and State please?
Alarm: YOU HAVE ENTERED A PROTECTED ZONE. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Sis: WHAT?!?!?! I need the police! (Yes, in her distress she miss-dialed)

In the meantime, my BIL’s colleagues, guns drawn, now surround the house. My BIL apparently forgot to grab his badge so it took everyone a minute to understand who was who.
The story ends well. The house was newly built and that night one of the windows with a loose latch decided to open. Crisis averted.

Do I capitalize on every opportunity to bring this story up - absolutely? Does my sister still use 5 phone extension cords on her phones? Yes, she continued that until the latest gadget, cordless phones were invented.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes a person who can't even dial 911 correctly in a crisis dials 411, and they allow this woman to do brain surgery. Well it wasn't a code blue or what ever they call it at the hospital. Thank Goodness it was only a malfunctioning window and not a burglar. What number DO you call in an emergency???? I had to excuse my self when the cops came to teach my brain surgeon wife how to dial the phone correctly. You had to be there.
Regards, B-I-L

Anonymous said...

Well wicked I gotta tell ya, I had to change my underwear. Just remembering that night.....it was pretty funny:)Thanks for the laugh! Nutcrackersweet 54

Anonymous said...

I'm just thankful he took the time to locate his pants---that would have been pretty funny and imagine his collegues surprise??

Meg said...

Great story! Thanks I needed a moment of comic relief :)

Kassahn said...

OMG! That has to be one of the greatest thing's I have read in a long time. Simply beautiful. Although... alarms are extremely flustering, so I can totally sympathize with your sister!