November 19, 2009 started out like a normal Thursday at the California Genealogical Society Library. Long-time volunteers Anne Robinson and Gene Peck were working on yet another project for the society. Past-president Verne Deubler was seated at a computer handling the CGS email. Linda Darby was finishing the manuscript collection overhaul, Lavinia Schwarz stopped in to handle a book order and our newest Desk Duty volunteer, Roger Bird, was shelving books. Dick Rees arrived at around 10:00 a.m. to tell us that a fire truck was parked out in front and he thought that there might be a fire drill.
Just then the relative quiet of the library was shattered by the extremely loud and obnoxious sound of the building fire alarm. All genealogical activity stopped as we followed procedure and made our way through the basement maze to the stairwell to exit the Breuner Building. On the way out we passed Engine 15 from the Oakland Fire Department.
The tenant occupants of the eight floors of 2201 Broadway are to gather in the parking lot behind the building on Valley. Luckily it was a gorgeous sunny but crisp autumn day. While we waited for the "all clear" we learned that we accomplished the building evacuation in a record six minutes.
We also learned that our newest volunteer was quite comfortable discussing fire drill procedures. In fact, Roger Bird is a retired captain with 31 years service in the Oakland Fire Department. Amazingly, Capt. Bird's home station was #15 – located at 27th Street and Telegraph – the one closest to the building!
Roger introduced us to his colleagues who stopped by the library for a short visit. At least a couple of our new friends are interested in their family history so we hope we convinced them to come back again and do some research.