Sunday, May 01, 2005

The roof, the whole roof, and nothing but the roof,--so help me

I've had several responsibilities in the maintenance world and some have been pretty nasty(ex. cleaning out grease drains and toilets.) Facilities Maintenance has gradually contracted these jobs out and most jobs are not too bad. For the past year I have been assigned to take care of the heating/cooling equipment on all the roofs of the plant. When I started working at Toyota in 1987 the total area under roof was over a hundred acres. Now no one seems to know for sure but the plant has almost doubled in size. That makes for a lot of walking. The other night I was sent to start two of the units on the 3000 building roof. One was on the extreme south end and the other on the extreme north end. Do I reset one unit and then go down to the floor and up the stairs (72 steps) to get to the other end or simply walk from one unit to the other? I have to go up and down the stairs on average about 8 times a night, I decided just to walk the roof. Just for the heck of it I tried to stretch my step to make sure I made 3 ft. steps. Just over 600 steps (1800 ft) one way, 3600 ft total or about 1/3 mile. And that's just one roof!! There are other unit failures on all the other roofs too. Up and down all those steps and walking across the roofs should make one in real shape, but I sure don't feel like it. I still have to stop at the top of the stairs to catch my breath and I still have 5 more months to go. It won't come quick enough!

Of course there have been some interesting times also. Like the first time I was sent to the roof. I was still in the maintenace training program for 4 hours and on the job for 4 hours. The 3rd shift team leader (night shift) sent me to the roof and verbally gave directions to the unit that was in alarm. I went up the stairs and walked right to the unit. I corrected the problem and feeling quite proud stepped out of the unit in the dim lit shadows of the roof and headed back. It wasn't long before I realized I was lost. Had I stepped out and turned the wrong way--maybe just made a wrong turn? All I knew was that it was dark and all the roof looks the same at night. Where were the stairs? Now--what to do? Call on the plant radio (for all to hear and then be harrassed forever) and ask for directions---no way! Use your head, man. There has to be a way. Ok, I'll just get on the Security Services channel and let them know I need assistance. No one in Facilities can hear the transmission unless they are accidentally on the Securities channel. I tell him what unit I am in and an officer heads my way. I anxiously wait and within a few minutes a figure emerges in the distance. I practically run toward him and let him know that the problem has been solved but thanks for his help. Then I follow him down to the floor. Problem solved. Well not exactly. The stairs he and I came down were at the opposite end of the plant from where I went up originally. Just a few thousand feet away (bummer)--but nobody ever knew that I got lost on the roof!!
Or just the other day, I went up to the roof to check on a problem unit. The huge fans that operate in the unit were on and I had to go into a separate room (8' x 10'). The door opened into the room but the air pressure was so strong it took all my strength to force the door open. Once in, I could not hold the door and it slammed shut. Check all digits--10 is a good number.
I fixed the problem and started to exit when I noticed that the door handle on the inside was missing. Give me a break!! It was nowhere around so somebody knew it was broken. This made me mad for a second until I realized this could be serious. After checking the area for skeletons, I decided I had to find a way out. With no handle, the door would not open. So once again--think man, think. Don't panic! And then it hit me. I'm wearing a radio so I called and asked the team leader to go to the computer and turn off the fans so I could complete my job. Moments later the large fans went dead and the door drifted open.

Well, enough of the roof--it's a job with it's highs and lows.


Blogger Bobbie Jo said...

If I had dad's job I would have never had to go through the horrors of "pump it up."
And when you're on the roof dad, just think of all that Vitamin D you're soaking up. So atleast there is some good that comes out of it.

8:30 PM  
Blogger A-Whit said...

I'd say that the only time being on the roof would be advantageous would be Christmas Eve... but watch out for those reindeer! (Dasher is particularly mischievous.)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Pretty clever problem solving tactics, dad. Avoid embarrassment at all costs.ha

10:13 PM  

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