Sam and I celebrate 5 years of Marriage!


Sam and I celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary yesterday and of course, we had a party to celebrate. Sam did his usual Friday Night Disco and Karaoke in the Sports Hall, but it was no ordinary party. Btw, Sam and I have been together a lot longer than just the time we have been married. We’ve actually been together since 2007, which is over TEN YEARS now.

Lets wind back to the beginning of the day, when I walked into my office and found a big bunch of roses on my desk, when I came into work. There was no doubt who had left roses on my desk btw! Sam also got a surprise in the Internal Post, as I had paid to have proper photos taken of me and the kids and had it put in a album for Sam. His present arrived on Thurs, so I quickly gift wrapped it and put it in his pigeon hole in the post room.

As most of you know, I do a Waking Night Shift and a Late \ Sleep in Shift on the Jets Unit on alternate Fridays. Last night I was on Late \ Sleep in. My afternoon was going well, the kids had all signed out for activities and I remained on unit, with the kids who were doing art. (I did not know they were making banners for the party and I had no idea Sam was planning something special)

By 5pm, everything was too quiet. The kids, the staff had disappeared. Every last one of them had vanished and the unit was far too quiet. I thought that the other members of staff had taken them over to the playground to ride bikes, so I got on with paperwork for a bit. The kids came back got changed and vanished again. It was now 6.45, so I thought “ah, they are over in the sports hall.” So I left the unit and went over.

I had no idea that a surprise party, with food has been organised and was shocked when I walked in the sports hall. Of course there was a massive applause when I walked in the hall and I also had no idea that half the school staff had also turned up for a party I had no idea about. The kids banners hung on the balcony to the Sports Hall and Sam and the kids were dressed up.

Sam and I got up on karaoke and sung to each other. Sam sung Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jenifer Warnes and I sang Amazed by Lonestar to Sam. There was a lot of very good singers and we even managed to get the Head up singing! (She wasn’t bad actually!) Sam and I also had a slow dance and a smooch, dancing to Zazoo – Only You. (which was our first dance at our Wedding Reception) Yazzoo was Vince Clark from Depeche Mode and Alison Moyet, who was known back then by her nickname, “Big Alf” due to her weight problem, in the 1980s. In 1983, the track was also covered by The Flying Picketts. This track got to No.1 in the UK Charts, for Christmas.

Talking of which,  5 years ago, we had our wedding Reception in the Sports Hall and most of the school staff and the kids came to that too.

I managed to sleep really well, after a evening that was so magical and thanks to Sam, our kids, the boarders and staff, we had a really special evening. Tonight, we are going out for a family meal. I’ve just finished a early shift, which is normal, when I do a sleep in. (So my work rota worked in my favor.) At breakfast this morning, I thanked the boarders and staff, for giving me a Wedding Anniversary I will never forget!

Shift From Hell!!! – Thanks Storm Gareth!

Mother Nature was well and truly on her monthly last night!

Last night was a very tricky and interesting shift. I’ve had a few shifts, where things go wrong, but not on this level.

I was on a cover shift last night, as the Unit Manager got stuck due to the bad weather. By about 10pm, it was very windy, as Storm Gareth took hold. There was not much we could do but get everyone to bed and  batten down the hatches. By midnight, the wind was very very strong and caused a power cut.

Normally, Power cuts do not cause a problem at work, as J Block has it’s own pair of Diesel Generators on the roof of the building and the main school have their own set of generators in-between D and J Block, on the lower ground floor. In the event of a voltage drop, the generators are supposed to kick in and take over the supply, before a blackout occurs. In our case, obviously not! For some reason, the automated transfer did not happen and I had to call home and get Sam, as the whole building lost power. At the time the power had failed, I was hoisting one of the disabled kids from the bathroom to his bedroom.

None of the kids were put in danger by the power failure, as we were able to put any critical equipment onto battery power, while Sam manually switched us across to the emergency power. The Care Call System also has battery backups and we were able to monitor the kids as normal.

So once the power was back on and I could get on and do some work on the computer, things seemed to get going well. A couple of hours past, and then… The fire alarm went off. on Continuous “Evacuate” signal.

FYI: The Fire Alarm has 2 separate alarm tones. Intermittent Wailing (Fire elsewhere in the building) and Continuous Wailing. (Evacuate) Intermittent wailing sounds on for 5 seconds and then stays off for 2 seconds and then repeats. Evacuate is a continuous long tone. Both are extremely loud!

So I followed the School’s Residential Block Fire Procedures and sent someone to go to the Fire Repeater Panel, find out where the fire alarm has been activated from and then radio through the information.

As a serious developing emergency was ongoing, it was apparent that the alarm, (which we had no idea was a false alarm) was coming from the Generator Plant on the roof. This now leaves me with making a hard decision, Evacuate or not. I decided that partial evacuation was the safest option and ordered all available staff to scramble to the 3rd floor to assist with evacuation. I then, (as per procedure) telephoned the Head to brief her on the ongoing drama. I also dialled 999 and called for the Fire Brigade.

We evacuated as many kids as we could on beds, using the Evacuation Lift and carried smaller children down the stairs. We evacuated everyone to the 2 units on the 2nd floor, while staff re-assured the kids on the other units that everything was OK and to stay in bed until told otherwise.

The Fire Brigade were on scene very quickly. The first thing they took care of, was the supply to the generators. Not being able to see to the roof and with the high winds, the Firemen used the internal stairs to the 4th floor and then used the access door to the roof.

Thankfully, it was a false alarm and the generators had not caught fire! Water ingress had got into the generator housing and into one of the smoke alarms. The water had set off the sensor, which then sent a urgent message to the Fire Alarm Panel. The system is setup, so that if a fire breaks out in either generator, it sends a immediate evacuate signal. A fire in the Generator plant is rare but could be deadly.

Sam was able to isolate the smoke alarm in question, while leaving the other 2 in tact. The Firemen were really helpful and helped us get the kids back to their units.

We finally stood down at 3.30am this morning and managed to get the kids back to bed. However, we had a lot to write in the kids log books, as well as the unit log books. I am glad when it was morning and I could handover to the morning staff.

I don’t know how Sam managed to do a full day at work, after only getting 2 hours sleep! (Luckily our live in carer at home, looked after our boys) or the kids on the units, who were rudely awoken by the fire alarm. However, it was a test of our emergency awareness and professionalism in such an emergency. (Even though we didn’t intend for this to happen.

I’ve been into work for a couple of hours today and was told that the kids felt reassured, by the way that we dealt with the situation and felt safe knowing we had everything in hand.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on site; we had a tree come down and flattened our old Portakabin, which is no longer used. (As it is not fit for purpose)

I hope I NEVER have a shift like this again… All HELL broke loose.

As for me, I got a hot date with the bath and a glass of Prosecco. Cheers! 🙂

Asbestos Removal is Finally Over!

Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel, as phase one of the B Block refurbishment is almost complete, now that all the Asbestos has been removed from the building. Most rooms in B Block had some form of Asbestos, which has has taken just over 4 months to remove.

Sam Says Safety First!

Asbestos is not dangerous unless it is disturbed. In the workplace it is law that your employer has a Asbestos Register, which tells them where there may be Asbestos Containing Substances (ACM’s) and what type of Asbestos it is.

If you think you have accidentally disturbed Asbestos, immediately evacuate the area, then contact your Supervisor or Manager and ask them to check the Asbestos Register.

If it is asbestos you have accidentally disturbed, it may need to be “encapsulated” to make it safe, or it may require removal, by a company who specializes in asbestos removal.

The bottom line is: If you are not sure if there may be asbestos present, check the Asbestos Register, or speak to the Site Manager or who ever is in charge of your building.

The block can now be refurbished and the builders will be moving in on Wednesday, replacing all the electrics, plumbing, floors and ceilings. (Yup it needs mega gutting ans starting again) Hopefully by the end of the summer term, the work will be completed and we will be able to allow pupils into affected classrooms and use the link bridge between J and B Blocks.

In the summer hols, my army of helpers will be cleaning B Block and putting the rooms back together. (as well as Unit Deep Cleans) We do a deep clean on each unit within a day, which is remarkable. This includes steam cleaning all surfaces, including the carpets , removing rubbish, deep cleaning of lounges, offices, bathrooms, corridors, kitchens, changing of curtains (dirties go down to the laundry etc.)

Stay tuned for updates!