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I’m the CEO of a small realty company, and we just bought an office campus. I always make it a point to personally inspect a property before and after acquisition. I received a letter in the mail:

“Hello sir,

I know your company has recently purchased the property where I used to be a security monitor in the 1990s. I’ve included with this letter a memo which was given to the small security staff as well as the head custodian in 1995. I don’t know if it’s relevant anymore, I believe it was only issued once and the current staff wouldn’t know about it, but I think it’s something you should know about.”

That was the whole letter. Enclosed with it were a couple pages, stapled together, that looked yellowed with time:

“What To Do in the Event of a Code 40"

A Code 40 will only happen after-hours, therefore it is chiefly the concern of security, custodial, and clerical employees. We do not have drills for Code 40. Staff who do not work the overnight shift need not be troubled with Code 40 procedure.

In the event of a Code 40, do not call 911, they will not know what to do. If you witness a Code 40 in progress, or are informed of a Code 40 in progress, go to the nearest hallway security system console, enter the code 45607# and press the unlabeled red button.

Once this is done, simply follow all the steps you would follow in the event of a Code 20 (armed intruder or multiple intruders) which are found in your Standard Employee Security memo, but DO NOT try to leave the building during a Code 40, and do not use the elevators.”

Also enclosed was another letter, also yellowed and wrinkled:

“Dear Mr. Peterson:

This letter is to inform you that the new security system has been installed without incident in your building. We would like to thank you for choosing our services. If there are any problems with the system you can call our number for a free inspection.

Your building is, unfortunately, not the only one to have this problem. We get calls about it from time to time, no one knows what causes it. Sometimes it passes, sometimes it doesn’t. Activating the system and following the procedure we have outlined usually keeps employees and managers safe during the ‘events’.”

Neither of the letters were signed. Intrigued, I visited the newly acquired campus like I was planning to. The building was empty, as we had not yet reopened it for business. Sure enough, the first alarm console I saw had an unmarked red button. I entered the code and pushed the button.

The first thing I noticed was that all the lights in the building shut-off. In fact, the primary electrical system seemed to have been shut-off.

The second thing I noticed was that the doors to all the elevators were open, but the elevators could not be operated.

The third thing I noticed was that all doors to the outside were firmly locked, even the fire doors.

On the hallway security console screens, a timer counted down from 20 minutes. When the 20 minutes were up, the lights turned back on and the elevator doors closed.

I can only assume this all means the system still works.



Written by HopelessNightOwl
Content is available under CC BY-SA