Sandy, And I Don’t Mean Annie’s Dog


Sandy, And I Don’t Mean Annie’s Dog

I was wandering around with the boss in some of the garages in Manhattan last month after the attack of Hurricane Sandy, and we noticed a number of entry and exit lanes literally under water. That means the equipment was sitting in saltwater. The boss blogged about the problem, and here is the result:
I spoke to some circuit board designers this morning and asked them what you should do if your PARC system was under water.  They noted the following:
1. Was the power off when the system was submerged?  If yes, read on; if no, call your service tech.
2. Are you familiar with the inner workings of your system, and have you changed components without the service tech being there?  Some of you are scratching your heads, but many who live in second-tier markets, where the nearest tech is a day away, you know what I’m talking about.  If you are familiar, read on. If not, call your service tech.
3. Be sure the power to your equipment where the circuit boards are is “off” so when the power comes back on, the boards will not be powered up.
4. Remove the circuit boards from their connectors and then rinse all the connectors with fresh water, preferably distilled water. Thoroughly rinse the boards, both sides, with fresh, preferably distilled water. Let them dry thoroughly. You can use a hair dryer if you are in a hurry, but fresh air works fine.
5. Be sure the connectors are thoroughly rinsed and dry. Be sure the power supplies are rinsed and completely dry.
6. We haven’t mentioned the motors in the fans and drive components of gates … How about the intricate bill acceptors and change makers?
If you got this far, you now understand just how complicated bringing your system back up can be. One misstep, one board not properly rinsed and dried, one power supply filled with water and bam! — you have fried everything.  What was a service call is now a replacement.
What are the odds of the service techs being able to save your equipment? If they are careful, maybe pretty good.  However, they might err on the side of safety and simply tell you to replace everything. You probably should.
You had a system that was running fine, with an intermittent fault that caused a problem once a month. That fault might now be once a week, or once a day. Water has a tendency to make minor problems worse. Time to replace.
That’s what insurance is for.
Wise man, my boss. He’s also controls the kibble.
In one of the garages I audit, there was no damage, but it was difficult for the staff to make it in to work due to the fact that most transportation wasn’t running. Some actually walked up to three hours to make it to work. The owner was so impressed, he recommended that something be done, so for the first two days after the storm, each employee who showed up was given a $50 bonus per day.
One employee lived a block and a half away and didn’t make it to work. When times are tough, you really find out who your loyal employees are.
Many of the garages in the city that were without power had other problems as well. They couldn’t operate after sundown. It was pitch-black inside, and they couldn’t risk car owners stumbling around in the dark looking for their cars.
In addition to the upwards of two weeks that the power was out, there were no fee computers, no pay-on-foot machines – we were back to a cigar box.
 The young staff members were perplexed.
“What do we do if they want to pay by credit card?” (Most customers in garages that charge upward of $50 a day pay by credit card.)
“Simple,” I told them, “tell them to pay cash or write a check.”
Some of the staff had never seen a check – certainly not one that was hand-written.
That’s OK, they needed to find out what it was like in the old days, when we computed each ticket by hand and took only cash. It will do them good, but I was very happy when the power came back on.


Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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