Take the @#$% Stairs

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Last month, I found myself sitting at an information security conference, in a room full of bright people all listening to a lecture when the hotel's fire alarm sounded. We all got up and filed out of the room. Eighty or so people milled at the top of the main stairway that led down to the first floor, patiently waiting for congestion to clear so that they could exit.

I glanced around, and sure enough there was a marked fire door -- something along the lines of "Do not open: alarm will sound." -- a mere dozen yards away. I loudly announced that, with the fire alarm already going off, there was no reason not to use the fire exit. This is why we have fire exits. I then proceded to take the fire exit...alone...down the empty staircase...and out the door with absolutely no one around to be in my way.

That's right, not a single person would follow me out the fire exit. I'd have been more persistant had there been signs of an actual fire, but still the crowd's behavior saddened me. I like to think of infosec as an industry skewed toward independent thinkers.