On February 28...the duty phone rang. After my initial "Oh snap!", it was time to get down
to business. Georgia Hall Resident Assistant (RA) Caty Quenga was reporting a situation
one would think minor: an overflowing toilet located on the fifth floor. To make matters
worse, all mechanisms to prevent overflow were broken, which meant water would flow
freely until a plumber arrived. The flow of water was constant, and claiming more area in
the hallway by the minute. I called to request emergency maintenance and the plumber
(who lives 30 minutes away). At this point, RA Quenga received another phone call stating
that water was dripping from the ceiling in the Multipurpose Room located on the first floor.
More manpower was necessary, and the "Lake Georgia" response crew did not
Fellow Georgia Hall RAs Keith Simmons, Anthony "Yankee" Johnson, Kimberly Cantrell,
and Chase Ellinburg assisted in the triage to help Georgia Hall residents minimize damage
to their belongings as the water seeped below doors and also began its journey down five
floors. As a portion of an assignment for the RA Candidate class, two students (JT Nash
and John "JP" Price) were shadowing Georgia Hall RAs to learn more about the "on the
job" reality. Rather than panic, each student quickly accepted their role, speaking to
residents to ensure their personal items were lifted above the floor, and redirecting traffic
around "Lake Georgia".
The calm and collected RAs and RA Candidates did not question or challenge their roles.
The patience of RAs Quenga and Ellinburg as they redirected traffic and warned fifth floor
residents helped keep the epicenter of crisis from becoming an explosion of anger at the
thought of damage to personal belongings. RA Simmons did not let the thought of water
entering his room affect his performance as he and RA Candidate Nash worked through
the rooms located below the leak to warn residents, ensured they were prepared, and to
assess the hallways for water damage. With each of the nearly 30 residents affected, the
Georgia Hall RAs and RA Candidates took the time to explain precautions, and gave
advice on how to ensure the safety of personal items.
From the first floor, RA Cantrell and RA Candidate JP manned the 10 buckets that were
gathering water dripping from the ceiling and working crowd control to ensure residents
were not alarmed. RA Johnson pointed out the noise of water that was coming through the
maintenance/custodial closets on each floor and noted that the water was flowing freely
from the fifth floor to the first floor multipurpose room storage closet. Any items that could
be damaged by water (from an Austin Powers cutout to large boxes full of items) was
moved out of the range of water in the closets.
Fortunately at this point, emergency maintenance and the plumber arrived. Within five
minutes, the flow of water had been stopped by the plumber. The wet vacuums of the half-
dozen emergency maintenance workers were up to the task, and within a half-hour, all of
the water was out of the fifth floor hallway. The maintenance workers slowly moved their
way downstairs to ensure that each spot identified by the RA/RA candidate triage was
given attention to eliminate the chance of mold damage in the future.
Thanks to the dedicated response of the "Lake Georgia" crew, damage was minimized
despite the volume of water. Not a single personal item was damaged due to quick
thinking. Minimal damage occurred to Georgia Hall itself. By midnight, "Lake Georgia" was
but a memory for Georgia Hall residents.
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