The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 13, 2009

Carlisle School copes with blackout

Classes continued with few interruptions during a Tuesday morning power outage at the Carlisle School. At 7 a.m. a fuse blew on a utility pole in the center of town, causing a loss of power to a section of Church Street, as well as School Street and Baldwin Road. Supervisor of Building and Grounds David Flannery said that power returned to the school around 9 a.m.

Flannery noted that teachers took advantage of natural lighting to continue classes and the gym class went outside. For the music classroom, which lacks windows, he said, “Students brought chairs out into the hallway under the skylights.”

The school administration evaluates each power outage to decide whether to continue classes or send students home early. He said, “We try to determine from the power company how long they expect the power to be out. Then we assess the local conditions that caused the outage.” He concluded, “The number one consideration is the safety of the students.” One concern is the well water supply and the availability of working toilets and sinks. Flannery said, “When the power goes out we have a very limited supply of water and pressure in the tanks. Our water lasted only about an hour.”

Back-up power

The school does not have an emergency generator capable of powering the entire campus. However, there is a generator for the waste water treatment plant and the Board of Health (BOH) has purchased a small emergency generator to be located at the school, however it has not yet been hooked up to the gas line. Asked if the BOH generator would be useful to the school in this type of situation, Flannery said, “Yes, the BOH generator would have been able to supply power to the well pump only, so we would have been able to have water.”

Flannery described additional power back-up provisions, “Our fire-alarm system has battery back-up that would power it for several days. In addition, our telephone and voice-mail system has a battery back-up. There are battery-powered emergency lights in the corridors of the buildings (required by code to supply egress lighting) only for a short period of time.”

He continued, “Also, we used a small portable generator we have to help the kitchen staff power their equipment so the students would have a hot lunch. And more importantly, we supplied power to the BOH’s refrigerator in the Corey Building that contained H1N1 vaccine, so as to maintain the required temperature of the vaccine.” ∆

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