Friday, October 29, 2010

Not your average Friday

I was a little surprised when I arrived at the car park this morning to notice that one of my team mates who had a car park pass for our main site was in the queue for the car park in front of me. I pondered for a moment, then dismissed it concluding that maybe she hadn't been able to find a car parking space.

I then noticed that the car park was unusually full. Again I pondered then dismissed it, not yet making a connection. I grabbed my bag and got out of the car and wondered over to where the bus arrives each morning. I was waiting there a few minutes before I noticed another guy get out of his car and start walking back to the main building before he paused and started to speak to me
" Are you waiting for the bus?"
" Yes" I replied
" Well it ain't coming" he told me leaving me somewhat baffled and confused, where was the bus?
" Why?" I asked
" Because of the bomb" he told me
" Bomb?" I replied mystified
" Yeah you know the threat?"
I didn't know and he quickly realised this, thus explaining to me what was going on. Half of the airport had been closed meaning that nobody could get to the main building and were thus gathering at the other facility we have at the airport.

So I went into join the other staff and find out my fellow team members to find out what was going on. As you can imagine it was a mega case of chinese whispers and everyone was certain they knew something, but what they knew wasn't the same as what someone else knew.

We were just settling in for a long wait when we were told that the all clear had been given, after the device had been dealt with so off we all trotted down to the main building either by mini bus or catching a lift in a car of one of those fortunate enough to have a car parking pass.

So we were all in the office, signed in, logged in and the phone lines open ( a mere two hours later then usual) and the day began...

and lasted less then five minutes before managers started moving through the offices yelling for us to evacuate the building immediatly, quite literally telling us to drop everything and move. People weren't even allowed to stop and get their cars, I freely admit I felt a trickle of alarm at this point as something was certainly wrong! As it turned out apparently a second suspect package had been found and we were only 400 yards from it apparently.

So following instructions from the ploice we left the industrial estate by foot and gathered at a nearby hotel where a convoy had been worked out to get us all back up to our facility at the far end of the airport. As you can imagine during the walk ( where everybody was trying to stay calm but probably walking a little quicker then usual) there was lots of conversations and obivous attempts to try and lighten the mood as people were starting to become tense and nervous.

The convoy desposited back at the other facility, Where we all had to stay for the next five hours. Whilst the authorities did .... well whatever it was they were doing, we started rolling contingency plans into action. Those who could help did and those who couldn't, well we found whatever secure place we could to stay out of the way.

By the time the 2nd all clear was given and we got back to the office again it was past 3pm! Which was fine for the people on the 8 to 4pm shift! Fortunatly when the phone lines reopened most people were very understanding. However I must emphasis most as not everybody was and many peoples patience was being pushed to the absolute limit.

As I was getting towards the end of my shift I suddenly realised something. It was precisely one year ago today that I had gone into work for my "farewell" in Bugmans bar. A year, it's been a full year! If somebody had asked me then where I thought I would be doing in a years time, being evacuated from a building due to a bomb threat would not have been near the top of possiblities I would have thought of!

When it came time to leave for the day I was amused to notice the number of camera crews who had turned up, they were all set up in front of our building as it was the best place to site their cameras so they could get the reporters in shot with the building where the devices were found across the road behind them.

So as you can imagine today was certainly a lot more interesting then the average Friday.

Obivously today had a happy ending, but as you can imagine there was lots of talks about "what ifs". I'm sure there's not one person who was working in that area of the airport which was evacuated who won't spend at least a little time pondering the what if's this evening.

anyway later folks


drat said...

ahh! the non stop high explosive life of the saxon!! :-) Its good to know things went without a bang! Etc etc etc insert stupid joke here....

Saxon said...

yes business certainly wasn't 'booming' that day.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're still in one piece! :)