McColleague and I have to go on an Emergency Salvage Exercise in a few weeks time.
The response to this news was less than joyous.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.” (Long, drawn out noise of almost inexpressible disappointment, much in the style of small children when informed that it is now bedtime). “Do I have to go?”
“I’m afraid we all have to go. How else will we know what to do in the event of an emergency?”
This always raises a smile. The house is built of ancient, tinder-dry timber. If it catches fire we’ll probably have about 10 minutes before it’s a smoking ruin. (By the time I have got my emergency kit on I estimate I will be on fire. My plan is to drop and roll towards the moat.) We all know that in the event of an emergency we will lob what we can out of the windows, hoping for the best, and then leg it to a safe distance.
Along with the summons to the Emergency Salvage Exercise was a list of required equipment for each participant to bring with them. McColleague and I perused the emergency stores, to see what we needed to order.
“So, that’ll be everything then” says McColleague, chirpily, having singularly failed to put a tick next to any of the items on the list.
“I believe so” I agreed, closing up our emergency stores again. “But if the list had said a hammer and a washing up bowl, we’d be all set”.
Diligently I completed the order form and sent it off to our central office.
A week later an exciting parcel arrived.
The response to its contents was less than joyous.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. This isn’t what we ordered! These are horrible! I’m not wearing them.”
She had a point. The list had specified protective footwear. We’d selected ones that looked a bit walking-boot-like, a bit Timberland-like, not too shameful and yet meeting all required safety standards. What we actually had were boots which looked like they might be useful in correcting the lurching walk of Frankenstein’s monster.
We also had Tyvek bodysuits, complete with hoods, helmets, headlamps, relective jackets, rigger gloves and waterproof jackets and trousers.
In the spirit of adventure, we tried it all on. It’s a good job we weren’t about to salvage anything from an emergency situation, as we were incapacitated for quite a time. One size does not fit all.
"How does this help, in an emergency situation?" asked McColleague from the depths of her Tyvek hood.
I attempted to shrug in response, but then thought better of it, as my bodysuit was a bit on the snug side. "I'm not sure," I mused. "Possibly it's to keep us out of the way of real danger, as by the time we've struggled into our kit and clumped over in our monster boots, the real emergency services will have arrived and we can just go and make the tea".
Perhaps we will feel differently once we've had the training day.