Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not Just Another Day at the Office

Oh, it might've started out that way. My new "helper" called in with car trouble AND an abscessed tooth. In all fairness her face was so puffy yesterday I'd told her to stay home if she needed to, but she promised to come in if the car cranked. It didn't. That made my To Do list longer.

There was the usual myriad of phone calls to be returned, people coming into the office with questions, paperwork to handle, all to the sounds of the Line Dance class meeting across the hall. But at 10:00 a.m., things got really interesting.

A group of my seniors is taking a CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] training class. I'm proud of them because they are the first group of senior citizens to tackle the course. The idea behind the CERT team is to be able to aid the "professionals" when their resources are stretched thin during times of disaster...sorry, during an "event". Can't help unless you remain positive. Last class we learned how to respond to hurricanes/floods/tornadoes and terrorist attacks with input by the County's Emergency Management Director and a Capt. with the Sheriff's Department. Today it was the Fire Department's turn.

This isn't just sit in the chair and listen training. Oh no. After the usual safety portion of the speech, we reached into our CERT backpacks and pulled out our hard hat, gloves, goggles, dust mask and fought a fire. Okay, it was a small one, but each of us had to put it out using the buddy system. You literally backed up your partner by carrying a 2nd fire extinguisher and keeping one hand on their shoulder. After the first two pairs went, my buddy and I were up. He's an ex-Marine and although he's in his 70s, he's as by-the-book as they come. He went first, which probably looked hysterical with 5'1" me reaching up to clap onto his 5'11" shoulder. Actually the hardest part was walking backwards, me keeping an eye on him, him keeping an eye on where the fire had been...you can never know when one might flame back up. Then the Instructor looked at me with a smile and advised the class,"Now we're going to give her the fire extinguisher that is going to go out mid fire. She will need to get rid of her extinguisher while her partner hands her his." I am pleased to say this went off without a hitch and the wind actually shifted and blew stuff away from us, unlike what it had done to the first two groups.

So before lunch I had learned the proper order to flip electrical breakers, how to pull an electric meter off the outside pole, used my "all purpose" tool to turn off/on a gas meter and put out a fire.

Gee, this afternoon is going to feel kinda boring.

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