(December 2009, Canada) Peter, a _year-old fire safety inspector, entered
a building in downtown Alberta for its annual fire inspection. Although
new to the building, Peter is not new to his job. With several degrees in
Fire and Health Safety, and fluent in three languages, this all-around nice
guy has expertly inspected buildings around the world for many years.
The structure he entered has a mechanical room in the bowels of the
building. This "boiler room" contains a vast air duct that feeds into the
air filters. The duct itself is more than strong enough to support the
weight of a man. Indeed, inspectors are required to climb onto the duct
from a catwalk on the floor above, in order to inspect one of the fire
Peter had just inspected that very device, and was standing on top of the
air duct when he decided to save himself a few minutes of time. Oh, the
Darwin Awards that have resulted from time-saving shortcuts.
The nearby fire device was almost in range if he stretched!
A highly trained Fire and Safety Inspector--it's his or her job to know how
to inspect a building safely. But sometimes the safe route is
inconvenient. Instead of taking that safe route--traveling back down to
the basement and climbing a ladder--Peter decided to: a) climb down the
side of the air duct, b) in nearly complete darkness, c) despite being
warned by his senior partner an hour earlier that he definitely should not
climb on the ductwork.
Halfway down, he misjudged his footing and gravity performed its civic
duty. Peter plummeted ten feet down to the cement ground in the carpentry
shop, adjacent (in photo--w) to the boiler room below, punching a hole
through the tile roof in the process.
Peter survived the accident with two broken ankles, but easily could have
killed (impaled) himself if he had landed to either side, on the table saw or the
tool bench. If you find yourself thinking "this precarious shortcut will
save a little time..." you too might be headed toward a Darwin Award.
A picture of the aftermath of Peter's decent can be found here.
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Reference: Eyewitness first aid responder and one of the first on the scene.