Yr Bldg Is On Fire. Pls Lev Qkly.

from the effective? dept

There’s no denying that SMS alerts can be useful for some things, but it always seems a bit risky to use them for things that are truly urgent. That’s because they’re not all that reliable — plenty of SMS messages tend to disappear into the ether, or sometimes it just takes a while for them to get through. So, it makes you wonder just how effective it will be for hotels in Japan to SMS or email guest’s mobile phones if the building is on fire. They say they’re looking to do this to help guests with hearing difficulties. It’s a nice idea, in theory (and the software is being offered free by a Japanese government agency), but it seems like a solution such as adding flashing lights to the hotel’s fire alarm system might be a bit more effective.

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Comments on “Yr Bldg Is On Fire. Pls Lev Qkly.”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Every hotel I’ve stayed in in the U.S. (and most corporate buildings) has had a strobe light attached to the alarm in the rooms that were designated for the hearing impaired.

How are they going to know they have a message or email awaiting them unless they happen to be holding the phone when it vibrates? If they can hear the phone ring, they can probably hear the alarm.

Excuse my ignorance … do cell phones for the hearing impaired have a flashing light or something? Do the severely hearing impaired even use cell phones (for anything other than texting)?

Joel Coehoorn says:


The Japanese culture is a little different regarding cell phones. Practically everyone has one and it’s always on. They are extremely prevalent. It’s hard to overstate this.

Lost or delayed SMS messages are usually related to a phone that turned off for too long, so the service ought to be fairly reliable.

wolff000 says:

My Phone Is Never On

I leave my phone off 50% of the time cause I don’t want to be bothered. I turn it on every hour or so and check messages and i do that only casue it is a work phone and i have to return calls within an hour. I wish I was born 100 years ago so I wouldn’t have to carry the digital leash all the time.

Dave Birch (user link) says:

This works for me

True story: a few years ago I was staying at a hotel in Washington. A friend of mine was there too and was checking out to go to the airport for a late evening flight so we went for a couple of drinks and got into a deep technical discussion. We carried the discussion on back to his room after he had asked at the front desk for someone to come and get his bags. We were so engrossed in the argument we didn’t notice the time. Suddenly he remembered that someone was supposed to come and get his bags, so he rang down to the desk (we were on the 10th floor or something like that) and got a message saying “there is a fire emergency please leave”. We hadn’t heard the alarm. We looked out the window and there were fire tenders around the hotel because a kitchen on the 2nd or 3rd floor had caught fire. We ran for the fire exit and hurtled down 10 flights of stairs to get out.

A text message? Yes please.

C. J. says:

RE: Txt Msg

Aside from the fact that we are dealing with Japan here – a society grossly married with technology (even moreso than America) – I do not see how this could be a bad thing.

Is this a service that they are demanding that the occupants of the hotel use? I might go so far as to scream, qutie loudly, no. This seems to be one of those things that will do far more good than harm; so where is the problem?

chris (profile) says:

the brits use SMS for a lot of stuff too

i read a BBC thing a long while ago about using sms to with taxis… you call for one and the cabbie texts you when he pulls up so you don’t have to wait outside in the rain/cold. i think the service was aimed at women who may not feel comfortable waiting alone outside of a pub or restaurant.

sms is way more popular in europe and asia than in the US. it’s not got nearly the “whippersnapper” stigma that americans give it.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

How about braodcasting a message over all the ‘phones in the rooms explaining WTF is going on. Once I was in a hotel in Kitty Hawk, with open balconies, and when the fire alarm went of outside, it sounded like an alarm clock in the room. Spent about five minutes looking for it, then decided to leave it and go to the beach, and saw all the alarms going off, stobes, the whole lot, outside. an automated, looping phone message would help a lot, and shouldn’t be too hard to set up.

Chris says:

Here's an idea...

Maybe it’s just my hatred towards the weakness of humankind to have an independant thought, but if a damn buildings on fire there’s a myriad of other indicators that can let you know besides your damn lifeline of a cell phone. People running like mad, fire trucks responding, or even the maids and valets trying to help escort people out of the building. Thankfully I don’t have the psychological problem of having to be able to constantly blab on about the most irrleveant crap. If I have something to say I don’t need to say it immediately. Unfortunately it seems like anyone under the age of 20 can’t retain a thought long enough to recall it at a later time when they’re actualy interacting with someone face to face. For all you jackasses out there talking on your cell phone while you drive, getting into wrecks and setting the stereotype that hikes up my insurance, all I have to say to you is I hope you run into a pole and kill yourself, thus making the world a better place. You have a mind for a reason, I highly suggest you use it. To anyone stupid enough to put themselves in such a situation, you deserve the end result.

txjump says:

just my thoughts

my dad is hearing impaired (but not deaf) and hes a sound sleeper. so i vote that the more things that are done to get his attention in the event of a fire THE BETTER.

geesh…just because it has to do w/ a cell phone some people want to bash it. forget that it just might save one or two lives.

and as for #17:
“Thankfully I don’t have the psychological problem of having to be able to constantly blab on about the most irrleveant crap”

your post was the longest and it was not much more than a rant…interesting.

Chris says:

Sorry for going over your heads with a satirical t

IF you read the entire post, you’ll see the point I was getting at is that people are entirely too dependant upon their cell phones, and they can even lead to more dangerous situations. If you’ve ever had a job that requires you to be on the road for a majority of the day, you’ll see that about 85 percent of people talking on their cell phones are completely oblvious to their surroundings. Everytime a new feature comes out on a cell phone, people think that the previous methods are now outdated. Tell a kid they need to learn their multiplication tables, and they’ll likely respond with “Why waste my time, I can just use my calculator on my cell phone.” Give it enough time and people will no longer know north from south, east from west, because everyone has GPS on their cell phone. So if people become accustomed to only responding to a crisis if their text messeged about it, it will probably bring about more harm then benefit. What I didn’t say is that it was a bad idea, shoulnd’t be available to those who NEED it, or that it couldn’t be a benefit. Obviously if you can’t hear, and are in a deep sleep, a light probably wont save your life. Having a vibrating device notify you of danger however may.

To txjump, yes my post was the longest, because it had the most content required to finalize the point (much like this post). To try and quote me saying I don’t have to blab on about the irrelevant, then hint at I’m doing just that, I suggest you actualy attack that which is irrelevant, maybe like my subject line. To comment on cell phones in a thread about them, and to offer my opinion in a FEEDBACK service, IS relevant.

As for the AC who posted “Oh dear, somebody thinks thier faeces doesn’t have that familiar aroma” in saying such a thing you’re saying your perceptive abilites trump mine, thus indicating the very thing which you oppose. I have the ability to speak coherant sentances without having to say “like” and “ya know” repeatedly. On average an American high school graduate is less educated than a 6th grader 40years ago. Males between the age of 18 and 24 have higher insurance rates, becuase they lack the judgement to be safe drivers. So to say that I’m better than the stereotype for my age, isn’t an act of conceded arrogance.

txjump says:


amen .. that would be a long sms!

chris, i dont recall saying i was confused about anything in your “expounded thoughts” (aka rant).

an opinion turns into blabbing on the most irrelevant crap when you call everyone under 20 an idiot, people you disagree with jackasses, and must tell everyone that indeed you are better than the stereotype of your age.

sure, the first two or three lines in your first post were about the uselessness of the cell phone as a means to potentially save a life. but the rest of your post and the subsequent post were indeed nothing more than blabbing on about irrelevent topics such as insurance, multiplication, and speaking coherently. oh, and how wonderful you are.

Chris says:

again you miss interperate what I'm saying

Unfortunately it seems like anyone under the age of 20…” Not sure if you’ve been to a high school lately, (why I mentioned the statistic about the lack of education most of America’s youth receives) but it is very apparent that most adolescents have a hard time compiling their thoughts to formulate an accurate depiction of what their intended meaning is. Instead they fall back on the all to common “like, you know.”

At no point did I call people who disagree with me a jackass, I said anyone who is stupid enough to get into an accident because they were talking on their cell phone is.

As for “the rest of your post and the subsequent post were indeed nothing more than blabbing on about irrelevant topics such as insurance, multiplication, and speaking coherently” it’s pretty clear to see that they’re relevant in counteracting the objections those of you arose. Kind of hard to have an argument if I don’t have material to support my claims.

For further clarification might I suggest you look up what a “satirical tirade” means. If you haven’t noticed already the underlying theme being everything that’s been discussed boils down to a matter of personal choice, and in such instances no one conclusion can be derived; aside from agreeing to disagree.

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