Thursday, November 25, 2021

"X" Marks the Unfortunate Spot

Chris Arnade has documented his most recent walk, across Albany, NY...
Albany is no different, but here the poverty and wealth are juxtaposed against a downtown filled with politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists who claim to care about the very inequality they are surrounded by, making it a physical metaphor for the failures of our political class.
One thing I've noticed in his posts are the abandoned-looking buildings with the square placards on them, the ones in Albany have a white X on a red background.

I don't recollect seeing these in Indy, even though my trips downtown take me through neighborhoods with plenty of abandoned structures. I decided to look them up, and discovered it's from the International Fire Code and used pretty widely here in the US.
When you see a Red “X” on a vacant building, it indicates to “first responders”-police officers, fire department staff and building department staff, that the building is considered unsafe for emergency personnel. For first responder safety and as a precautionary measure, the Red “X” symbols are being installed on vacant buildings that have been inspected and deemed unsafe for emergency response personnel to enter. It advises extreme caution and that all emergency responders should limit fire fighting to outside operations only, and to enter inside only if there are known life hazards such as a person trapped inside.

The Red “X” does not show that the building is to be demolished or rehabbed or otherwise. The safety hazards present in a building can be holes in the floor, missing fire escapes, missing or unsafe stairs, and open roofs among other potential safety hazards.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these signs are a bone of contention in some places. 

They do give off a certain cyberpunk dystopian air, that's for sure, but maybe the neighborhood chamber of commerce might want to worry about why the signs are there in the first place. It's hard to make the argument that they're uglifying the decaying buildings in the 'hood.

I guess taking warning signs on vacant buildings down is what local politicians would rather do about the problem instead of something.