Monday, September 29, 2008

The wrong way to start a week

Every other Monday our group has to partake in joint meetings in our institute. This generally means 9am talks, which used to drag along until 11am. Less sleep, less productive work hours and tons of in depth neurodevelopment, hard to comprehend in the early hours of the day.

Today was «slightly» different. Upon arrival at 8.45, the sirens of the fire-alarm greeted me and I saw hospital staff wheeling patients out of the wing. Strangely, no evacuation attempts for anybody else at that time. Very much to my displeasure all cafes were locked up, so I made my way outside to the evacuation point. The fire-brigade finally joined the party and things got more structured - shouting police men, hysterical fire marshals, the whole parade was out there.

It turned out that there was a serious explosion in one of the patient wards, two floors below our lab. Apparently and luckily, no-one got injured. Due to unknown structural damage, the whole wing is now off limits until an investigation can or cannot attest its safety. The latter case would be quite devastating for all the labs. I don't imagine the move of all the material to a replacement venue to be an interesting past-time [1].

Many people still have their personal belongings on the floor. They are now being issued petty cash, so they can at least make their way home. My current main concern is that the power circuits aren't cut, otherwise loads of precious samples in the freezers, fridges and cold rooms might go down the scientific drain.

Everyone has heard those stories about whole departments not recovering from fire, I just hope we won't be affected. The institute issued an emergency number, I got to call tomorrow morning to check whether the wing will be accessible again. Keep your fingers crossed.

[1] I just moved house and it was a huge pain in the neck - literally, because I did it manually.

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Blogger Ψ*Ψ said...

Power outages are always a little scary. The stuff in your freezers might thaw out and expire or grow like mad and take over...the stuff in our freezers might explode. ;)
Sorry to hear about the disaster, and hope everything works out.

1:13 am  
Blogger Mike said...

Yes, I guess we are on the "save" side. With human tissue the issue is a little precarious though. Apparently - this is a story form a co-worker - you got to note down were the smallest ounce goes to. It happened that a family claimed all the samples from their late relative back for burial, despite that half his gut was already sectioned into 12 micrometre thick slices.

Btw. the building opened up on the day. I was silly enough to sit in the library instead of going to my internet-less home. After a short struggle with my consciousness I went back to labs and did some alas unsuccessful genotyping, but that's a different sad story.

1:23 am  

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