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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Evacuation and the Parable of the Foolish Bridesmaids

It's been a rough week so far, and today is only TUESDAY! I'm already exhausted.

Last night it was the mother of a customer's girlfriend (major dysfunction in that family) demanding information for the 20 year old customer...information to which she has no right under the sun. I'm anticipating further trouble with this woman.

Today it was just busy, stuff constantly. Then we hit about 4 pm or so, little after, and I felt the need to visit the ladie's room. As I went out the office door to the bathrooms, I saw that one of the other units was packing it up...they were apparently heading out early but I really didn't think much of it, other that the oddity of it.

I was gone for only a few minutes. None of the gaggle of leaving women stopped in behind me, which was odd...many people hit the bathrooms before they leave as many have long commutes. Again...odd, but I shrugged it off.

I returned to my desk to find that my entire team was not there. I didn't think much of it because they could be at fax machines, talking with a manager, running various errands around the office...etc.

There was a little icon on my computer indicating that I had mail. I clicked on it and found a message, "X office read ASAP!"

That's my office! I opened the letter. The head of our state was notifying us that a gas line had been struck very near our building and so he was evacuating us. He provided some emergency instructions for managers.

I realized then where everyone had gone. I closed up my computer, logged out of my phone, picked up my stuff and went out the door with another manager. He was carrying his computer, as were several other evacuating employees. I commented that without a wireless card or useful connection at home (the network stuff doens't work from my house because I don't have DSL), it made no sense to take my computer.

The second we walked out of the building we entered a cloud of gas. I realized that our state manager was wise to send us packing. Having been trained as a Haz Mat Specialist in a "prior life", I knew that this was bad. I asked the manager walking behind me if he knew where the line had been struck? Somewhere behind our building.

The cloud had traveled. I remembered studying this. What's supposed to happen is that those in the area of the cloud are not to do anything that would set off a spark for fear of starting an explosion. The gas has to be shut off and allowed to dissipate.

That cloud was hanging out over the eastering parking lot and as I got into my car I realized that I was going to break the cardinal rule of gas leaks. I was going to create a spark by starting my car.

So was everyone else.

Clearly it worked out ok as I'm blogging now, but sometimes I consider these little daily things and understand that they really just serve as a reminder that God is in charge and if He had wanted our building and thousands of employees to be rocketed in to space courtesy of a struck gas line...well, I guess someone in Cleveland would be sending flowers to my family right about now. And flowers to lots of families.

We cannot choose the day or the hour, and while I don't believe there was any major danger for us today, the potential was there had the emergency at the pipe not been handled appropriately, or had the damage been done intentionally.

Today was a reminder to pray; to remain in God's graces, and to always be prepared.

Which reminds me...since I didn't think ahead enough to bring my computer home in case we need to remain away from our office building tomorrow, I'm not going to be able to work even out of another office...which proves that I was not prepared or far sighted.

The parable of the foolish bridesmaids just came home to roost. Say hello to the newest foolish bridesmaid. Don't be like me. Be prepared and make sure you have enough oil for your lamps, for you do not know the time or the hour in which the bridegroom will come.

At the very least, if your office is evacuated then if your are equipped mobilly, then collect your "office" in case you need to work elsewhere the following day. That's pretty much the same thing.


Unknown said...


Your life sure is interesting! I hope you're writing a book! And I'm very happy that you and all the others are safe and alive.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: I'm appalled that no one said anything to you to make sure you'd heard what was happening.

You make an excellent point. Keep that soul prepared. This is something I"ve been striving to do lately. Rather then take the lazy way out and wait 3 days to go to Confession I'll ask myself do I really want to wait that long? What if something happens?

Adoro said...


I learened today that one of the coworkers I thought had left had run out on a work-related errand, and when she arrived back at the office, 2 customers were riging for help. She had been called by our manager and so informed the customers that there wasn't anyone inside to help her due to the gas leak...she stayed and assisted them and finally got to leave.

Granted she was told, and about 30 min after I'd called a co-worker, one I KNEW was on the road, our manager called him also.

We got a note from our head guy this morning telling us where to find the emergency procedures and that our incident demonstrated that we really didn't know what to do and that communication was not good.

It was OK, though. Our team is weird...we're alway scattered which is why I wasn't informed, and after all, I checked my e-mail so alll was well.

Had it been a dire emergency, the managers would have all been collecting their individual units.

Anonymous said...

Adoro - glad you are OK!