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Thread: "My" Outage Makes Newspaper

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    I provide and co-ordinate maintenance for four, regional, US Banks. The largest and oldest one takes most of my time and is where my office is located. The nine floor building was erected in 1924 with additions in the 1960's. It has an interesting mix of machinery, systems and alterations added over its many years. The elevators still have their huge, ancient,open-frame controllers, filled with clacking choruses of contactors and hot, wire wound, resistors.

    Last week as I was doing paperwork in my lower level office, we had our first power outage in two years. When the lights didn't come right back on, I pulled a Nuwai .5 from my shirt pocket before I got up from the desk as it was COMPLETELY dark. With that light on, I took a ProPoly 4AA of its wall hook and gave it to the HVAC vendor who happend to be in my office at the time. Next I deployed my E2e and we headed to the boiler room where the emergency lighting generator is located. After a minute delay it fired up and the emergency lights came on. These lights are located fairly distant from each other but give enough light for minimal navigation.

    Then we headed through the dim boiler room to the far end where the large, three phase, diesel generator is located, to see that it was running correctly. Having bright lights was helpful in navigating through the dim, narrow passages, with their hot, steam filled pipes. Remember this is an old building not constructed with the safety systems and open areas found in modern equipment rooms. It's easy to get beaned by low slung pipes.

    I sent the HVAC tech back to the office with my ProPoly to check on the building systems computer while I headed out to my truck to get a SuperSabre and a UK Vectra outfitted with NiCds and 4.5 & 18 watt lamps. No longer needing the E2e I reholstered it and used the longer running, rechargeable, Vectra on 4.5 watts and the SuperSabre cliped to my belt, just incase. Back inside I chanced an elevator ride to the top floor (they're on emergency power) and toured through each floor on the way down to check on the tennants.

    Finally I had time to get some phone calls in and find out that about 24 other buildings in the area were also without power. After about two hours a crew of four from the power company arrived at the bank, having restored power to the other buildings but not ours. It turned out that one of the high voltage cables in our switchgear had perforated and shorted to ground. This knocked out the substation in the area. The linemen didn't see the section of faulty cable in the switchgear until I shined the tight beam of the SuperSabre along the length of the cables inside the cabinet, which is located outside, in bright surroundings.

    These guys had only one Light Box so I accompanied them to to the lower level of the building where we have our own triplet of large transformers in a vault - without emergency lights. The bare 12.5kV wires are within reach and there are trip hazzards - a possible fatal combination without good lighting. The Vectra on 18 watts insured a safe trip to the bank's other vault.

    Determining no other problems existed with the transformers, they gave the go ahead to replace the blown HV fuses, outside.

    This one experience probably used up my lifetime alotment of flashaholic excitement. Although five of my lights were pressed into use I still had a "2MCP" John Light back in my truck.

    Now some of the people at the bank that got 20/$20 keychain lights from me, last Christmas, know how useful they can be.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    Sounds like a dream come true, Jayflash, being able to use 5 lights in a go... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Good thing you don't have your whole collection with you, you could probably light up the whole building and the power guys would probably pass on by, thinking you guys had power... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

    Thanks for sharing! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    Wow, that was brave. I would of thought of a terrorist attack or a mass loooting scheme like you see in some movies.

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    Nice job, Jayflash, especially dealing with the HV hazards. They should really install some LED emergency lighting in the area of the power vault. That sounds really dangerous.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    good job!! the best lights are the ones with you.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    Great story, I enjoyed it. And they tell me carrying 3 lights with me is too many.. well, I wonder. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    I've only been here since last September and got to experience one of the dowtown's, rare, electrical outages. In my haste to post about the four (for our building) hour lack of electricty, I forgot to mention, and didn't have to use, an Arc AAA & Inova Microlight that were in my, two, front, pockets.

    Yes, indeed, your best lights are the ones on your person.

    This outage exposed deficiencies that I can correct. Lack of emergency lights in the transformer vault is high on my list along with refurbishing the switchgear, an oil analysis, and a bushing brushing for the vault monsters. The emergency lighting generator could be brought up to current NFP specs to start within a few seconds rather than a minute. But there goes much of my potential, flashaholic, fun.

    If I hadn't experienced this myself, I'd find it hard to believe that one could actually use (or have!) five lights for an occasion. Never would have thought a flashlight (SuperSabre) could expose a faulty section of HV cable out in the daylight, though in a cabinet. We all missed the insulation perforation in the cable without the flashlight.

    If not for the support of the CPF Fellowship I'd N - E - V - E - R have had so many lights, with good batteries, ready and close by. CPF = life & safety lighting awareness.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: \"My\" Outage Makes Newspaper

    [ QUOTE ]
    jayflash said:
    If not for the support of the CPF Fellowship I'd N - E - V - E - R have had so many lights, with good batteries, ready and close by. CPF = life & safety lighting awareness.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That's the part I love about CPF as well. I can't believe how poorly prepared and equipped I was in the past looking back. How my job requires it and yet how many hundreds of times I have had to beg for a simple screwdriver. How I never thought of changing batteries till they corroded and even the battery company writes back to tell me they had "extreme difficulty" in removing them for analysis. CPF has taught me that it is important to take responsibility for my own safety and hopefully in time of crisis, I will be able to help those around me.

    It's preparedness. Not survivalism, but rather a practical form of preparedness that will help should the need arise and makes life so much easier day to day.

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