I had a very dramatic hour at work today. A close call; averted by quick action and on the ball thinking.
The day started much as any other day, I checked my email and took down the outgoing mail. We were also getting carpet replaced after a flood from a broken sprinkler head last month flooded half of a floor in the building. The carpet installers arrived, I sorted the incoming mail, and I was set to get to work on recording the keys issued to the new graduate students when there was a serious commotion in the hallway. It was the carpet installer, and he was stuttering about water in the hallway.
Oh, was there water in the hallway. It was almost ankle deep, pouring down the hallway towards me, down the hallway in the other direction, down the elevator shaft, and down the staircase. Water, water everywhere…
I clicked into full steam ahead. My flip-flops came off and I turned around and ran back to my office. I had some absorbent socks under the sink and I had to get them, fast. I had four of them stashed away. I pulled them out from the cupboard, spilling a can of graphite powder in the process, and ran back to the water. I put two of them across the hallway as I approached; creating a dam to stop the water flow. The guys that had arrived and begun mopping up the small pond put one across the elevator door and another at the stairway door. The puddle was contained.
Next, I called the person in charge of disasters and he was there within ten minutes. I got my key for the elevator and someone turned it off. I called the elevator shop who sent technicians over to take charge of that unit. I asked one of my coworkers to email the department that the elevator was out, another to call building services for their flood team, and another to make signs to keep people out of the stairwell. Yes, water flowing down and between the steps creating a lovely rain forest effect, and my coworkers would not find another route to their destination. We won’t mention the slip and fall hazard created by standing water on a tile surface. Finally, I got the building maintenance supervisor; last because he was located in the basement and I had to splash my way down the stairs to reach him.
In the end, we had water standing from the third floor clear down to the basement, and it was flowing through the concrete decks in the electrical closets. In layman’s terms, this is classified as a mess.
I took the disaster guy around the building getting mops, moving equipment out of non-electrical closets that were leaking water, getting towels and mops and wet vacs. I moved equipment and people to locations as needed. It was very exhilarating and the most fun I have ever had at this job. The mess, cleaned up within 55 minutes from the time I called him. All that was left was putting away the equipment and calling it a day. We all looked like we’d been through the wringer; sweat soaked and panting from the effort but smiling. No damage except to the ego of the guy that forgot to shut the valve that allowed all of the water to escape.
I still haven’t told you the best part to the story. I may jinx it if I do. So far, every time I’ve shared good possibilities, they’ve fizzled, so I will keep this one to myself and tell you if it happens. I’m having a really hard time keeping it to myself, so I’m going to sign off and get some sleep. I’m pooped out.
I heard this song on the radio today and wanted to share. It is an excellent, fun song from the late 80s.