One February 14th, residents and staff were faced with an unexpected emergency situation at Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless. As they sat down for a Valentine’s Day dinner prepared by one of the residents, the group heard a faint beeping sound. Dan, the staff member on duty, immediately searched the building, and soon discovered the beeping was an alarm sounding from the basement mechanical room. During his investigation of the building he also found flooding and smelled gas.
Quickly, Dan shut down the gas valves leading to all buildings, and went into evacuation mode. He directed everyone in the building to a safe zone in the community kitchen, where guests could be protected from the cold weather. He then called 911 to report the incident.
Over the next couple of hours, without the benefit of heat or electricity and working only by flashlight, Dan worked with emergency responders, staying in constant contact with the shelter manager and other key staff. Dan worked with the Red Cross to arranged an overnight shelter, meals and transportation for all of the residents.
Community Action’s buildings and grounds coordinator moved immediately into disaster recovery mode. He worked diligently into the evening to contact plumbers, electricians and furnace repair contractors. Water was pumped from the basement, repairs to mechanical equipment were completed before noon, and residents were back by 2:00 p.m.
Local businesses and organizations also responded quickly to the crisis. The problem wouldn’t have been solved so quickly without collaboration from the Red Cross, Darien Fire & Rescue, WI. Gas & Electric, Walworth County Sheriff’s Department, Agsun Electric, and Logterman Heating and Cooling.
The apparent dedication and selflessness displayed throughout the situation to ensure the safety of others speaks volumes about these people and our organization. Acts of heroism such as this certainly make us thankful for everyday heroes without capes within our community.