2/9/09

What rain - and some high drama!

Well the rain and storms were a joke, we got 1/13th of an inch and there were no storms in our area. So we continue under a very high wildfire risk, the winds today have been 50mph and temps in the high 60's! Here are a couple of pictures of one of the fires last week in a neighbouring county, sent to me by a friend.

We had high drama at school this morning though. As I walked to my office a colleague came running out of it, shouting at me that there had been an explosion and was smoke, and maybe a fire as the alarm had gone off!! We ran into the office and sure enough the alarm was going, all the power was dead and there was a strong smell of plastic burning, but no smoke or fire to be seen. The office building is seperate from the actual school, so there was no danger to any students. I followed procedure and called 911 and reported it and requested the Fire Dept.

I knew I needed to get my Principal to the office urgently and the only way was to make a call over the school intercom to all areas. I also know that when the cafeteria is full of noisy kiddo's having breakfast, it's hard to hear me. So I pressed the intercom and just about shouted into it " Mrs ....., Mrs...... please come to the office IMMEDIATELY"!! Much later I was told they knew there was a problem, because although I actually didn't sound panicked, there was an unmistakeable urgency to my tone and they could all hear the fire alarm in the background. She told me she dropped everything and just sprinted all the way to the office.

Within minutes the Superintendant and High School Principal arrived and ran into the office area to check for fire. We then went ahead and pulled the main school building fire alarm, to clear the students outside just for extra safety.

Next 3 Fire Dept trucks raced up and about 9 firemen raced into the offices, as I told them what we knew. They advised us they had been all over town as there had been a big power surge, it had caused bangs and burning odors in the local hospital and some homes!

Whilst they did their thing, I rounded up some students who were at the front as opposed to the rear of the main building, and a few late arrivals. The firemen then gave us the all clear to let the students back into the cafeteria, a good thing as it was pretty cold outside. By the time I got back to my office, they had established the burning smell and bangs were from all our surge protectors blowing in unison. An interesting point here for reference: our Fire Chief advised us to replace all the surge protectors even if they hadn't blown this time, as they might have been affected anyway.

The end result was about 15 blown surge protectors, we think a few computers, a clock and a weather radio lost. We will have to replace about 70 surge protectors throughout the school though, and tonight everything electrical is unplugged. Much of the town had no power for 3 hours, as they fixed a transformer that had been hit by lightening somewhere out in the country.

As to how lucky we were; the surge protector behind my desk had scorched the carpet where it blew. The surge was powerful enough to blow the power board on our big copier, despite a surge protector. And the powerboard had scorch marks and a part had completely blown off into the copier!! We could easily have had a fire.

It's been quite a Monday, the Principal and I felt like we'd worked two days not one by the end of it!

19 comments:

pamokc said...

OMG! What a story and what a day you have had! They think it was a lightning strike? THere was one of those in our neighborhood nad it took over a year before the family could move back into the house!

Linda said...

Oh my! That was a lot of excitment!

Mary said...

Wow! You're not kidding about high drama. I hope tomorrow is much less exciting!

Lightning struck a power box behind a neighbor's home a few years ago. Everyone in the neighborhood loss some items. It surged at our house and blew through a television, toaster, microwave oven and coffee maker. It was amazing! When the lightning struck we all saw a huge fireball fly into the sky followed quickly by the surge. Yikes!

Its Just Me - Daring to Dream said...

Wow...thats a blazing fire...good grief!And when things are dry...they do nothing but burn...

Janet said...

Those fires look dreadful, I hope you get more rain soon. Also hope your Tuesday proves less fraught.

It sounds like we got pretty much the same weather as you today, but we have severe storms forecast for tomorrow, just perfect for my drive to Missouri. :-(

Sherri said...

Oh my Sarah what a day you had! Glad there wasn't a fire. I hope you get some rain, those wildfires are brutal!

Jill of All Trades said...

What a way to start a Monday.

Sassy Britches said...

Never a dull moment in Okieland!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Woooo Sarah, That is scary --as to what happened at your school. It must have been very powerful since surge protectors are supposed to PROTECT... Yipes!!!!! Glad there wasn't a fire.

Sorry you didn't get any rain. That's the way the forecasters do.. When they say we're going to get it, we don't. When they say we won't get it, we do!!! DUH!!!!

Take care.
Hugs,
Betsy

texasdaisey said...

Wow does that bring back memories. My husband used to fight fires just like that when we lived up in the Panhandle. Hope everyone is ok.
Debbie

Marites said...

now, that's scary as the incident could've gotten worst. it's a good thing, it did not and you kept your composure.

JennWasHere said...

I love the brownish tone of the pictures!

My World welcomes you here. Have a great day!

Kay said...

That is incredible! I guess the surge protectors did their job and died doing it.

Pat said...

Very scary! Could the firemen tell if any of the actual wiring was damaged?

Daryl said...

Scary stuff .. our IT people are always saying how surge protectors are only so good .. if the power surges in a BIG way, as if did in your situation, they dont do much. I am so glad it was only scorched carpet and not scorched Sarah!

Peggy said...

OMG...I was hoping for a little more excitment in my life....now maybe I'll just count my blessings and be careful what I wish for!

Snippety Gibbet said...

Geeeeeeeez. That's more excitement that I care to experience in one work day. Whew. Congrats on the blog anniversary!!! I enjoy reading about your world that is both so alike and so different than my own. jan

Almost American said...

Hope you get some real rain soon. I saw there were tornadoes around OKC and Tulsa.

Some surge protectors are better than others - I hope you have good ones at home. We have an expensive brand that saved a whole bunch of electrical equipment at our house when it got hit by lightening.

Annie said...

sorry to hear that you have a fire risk there at the moment also..still trying to absorb the enormity of the terrible devastation down in the south of this continent!

Annie (Australia)