Locked in the Vault…Emergency Measure Failure
When I started working at the Kelowna and District Credit Union, I was taken on a tour of the building. It was two stories high and had offices on the main floor that were tucked in here and there. Upstairs was the boardroom, lunchroom, washrooms and an open air office for Mrs. Hyde. I loved her office. You could stand at the railing and survey the whole bottom half of the building except for the Collections Office.
Since I would be training new tellers I was given the combination to the vault and instructed on what to do in a variety of emergencies…power failure and robberies were two main emergencies that we paid special attention to.
In the event of a power failure, the main vault door was swung shut and the combination turned off. We understood this would be a 12 hour shutdown. In the event of a robbery, whoever was closest would step into the vault and shut the door from the inside and turn off the combination. There was a telephone inside and we would wait until it rang. The vault could be opened right away from the inside only if it was shut from the inside. If the vault door was closed from the outside, it was a 12 hour wait. It all seemed simple enough.
One afternoon the secretary and I were standing inside the vault talking as I sorted old bills to be destroyed. All of a sudden we heard the ping of the silent alarm and before we could move to the door, it swung shut and we heard the unmistakable sound of the combination being turned off. Well crap…what in heck would we do now?
We rang our Manager’s extension but he didn’t answer. We started to ring every extension in the building with no answer. We could only assume that the place was being robbed because the phones worked in the event of a power failure.
After a half hour wait, we tried phoning again..this time we got Ron on the phone. He was frantic as everyone was looking for the two of us! Well, Ron…someone was supposed to COME into the vault to shut the door..instead it was slammed shut from outside and locked and Val and I are inside.
It turned out that one of the tellers thought she was about to be robbed and Sharon, our office manager just slid her chair back and casually shut the vault door not realizing we were inside. It was a false alarm but that did not do anything for the two of us inside.
As thick as the vault door is, we could clearly hear the laughter when Ron explained where we were. Maybe they thought it was funny but we realized that we might be spending the next 12 hours locked in the vault…no food or drink..no bathroom..no smoke break.
The phone rang and Ron said that a technician from the Vault Company was just coming in the door. Unbeknownst to us, there was a built in code that would open the door at any time but only by a Vault employee with the special code.
When the door finally swung open, there stood our Manager with two cups of coffee and two cigarettes and a big goofy smile on his face. We were no worse for the wear but demanded hazard pay! Absolutely Ron responded as he produced a plate of fresh donuts as he knew neither Val nor I could go more than one hour without food!!!
Yes, it was just another day in an otherwise normal day LOL. I have to admit I was pretty leery about going into the vault to work and started taking my work out to Val’s desk instead.
If something stupid was going to happen, you can bet I would be somewhere in the mix of it all!!