We took an old press release from the local city fire department and photocopied it with the text of the press release blanked out leaving only the organizations information at the top of the page. We replaced that text with our own informing the new guy that, in addition to his duties as Business Manager and Human Resources Director, he was the newly designated Safety Officer for our company. As Safety Officer, he would be responsible for holding quarterly fire drills and evacuation training to prepare in the event an actual emergency should occur. He was also instructed to gather certain items that he would need to conduct the fire drill properly. These items included a bullhorn, a stop watch, and the company safety manual. This is where the fun really started because none of those items existed in our building at the time. After aquiring all of the previously mentioned items, it would be his responsibility to ensure that at the proper time everyone evacuated the building in an orderly fashion and proceed to the Highway Patrol parking lot across the street. He was to observe the evacuation from the rooftop of our building and his performance would be monitored by city fire department officials from accross the street. He was told the drill would take place at 3 pm when he would hear a fire alarm building intercom. We sent the fax at 2:45 pm and he found it at 2:50.
OMG! There aren't enough words in the English language to describe the insanity that followed. Needless to say, he couldn't find any of the items he needed because they didn't exist. At 3pm I set off the "alarm", which in reality was an old WWII air raid siren from our sound effects library. So now, hecan't find the stuff he needs, he can't find the roof access from inside the building, and the kicker......everyone ignores him when he tries to get them to evacuate the building. We were standing back watching him and trying as hard as we could not to totally lose it. After a while, his frustration level reached a point where we considered stoping the whole thing, but before we could he went into the General Managers office. Since the boss was in on it, we knew it would last a little bit longer anyway. After venting at the boss for a bit, asking why no one was taking this seriously, and reminding him that "the fire department was evaluating our performance".....Our boss simply raised his head from his work with a smile on his face and told him that he had been had!
Thus began a six year tenure of pure torture for the poor fellow that included even more stunts than I can remember. No wonder he isn't with us anymore. But even though he is no longer with us, the tradition has continued with some serious prankster action going on. So yes, this year I and many others I work with dodged the April Fools Day bullet....for now. I'm sure though another adventure is lurking around the corner. It's just a matter of when and where.