NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is cool under fire–literally. On Tuesday’s first live feed broadcast of the network flagship program, a fire alarm at the famed 30 Rock went off automatically throughout the building.
Williams barely flinched, got through the sentence he was reading off the teleprompter (a story about the American Airlines bankruptcy) before smiling wryly to the camera and acknowledging the loud siren blaring away in the background.
After another moment he threw the story to Washington, obviously hoping the alarm would just go away, before coming back to the story in NYC. No such luck.
The one minute clip below shows the utter professionalism of Brian Williams as he calmly continued reading the news, periodically mentioning the alarm sound to his audience.
What happened? All reports indicate there was no fire, no smoke, no terrorism, and that the alarm went off as part of a scheduled fire drill.
Anyone who works in a large office building is aware of the phenomenon, and most are trained to immediately evacuate the area to designated safety zones. That usually means leaving the building.
But, apparently, that’s not an option for network news anchors and the crews involved with a live news broadcast. The alarm sounded throughout most of the first 30 minute live feed. All the while Brian Williams kept his cool, and even managed a few smiles.
Viewers on the west coast had no clue, as network news broadcasts to the west are regularly re-shot for developing details, or for just such an eventuality during the first live feed. In actuality, a 30-minute broadcast regularly takes an hour to complete.
Luckily, one YouTube user got a minute or so of the action and posted it just a few hours later.
Here it is. A word of note, however. Most Fire Marshalls would probably not use this tape as a training tool. For all high-rise dwellers and workers who aren’t in the business of live TV, it’s always recommended they evacuate the area, drill or no drill. It’s always best to err on the side of caution.
But the news marches on…