Documentary: Disaster Relief (Video 4) – Hotel Far, Far Away

Still frame for Hotel Far Away Video

Hi, it’s the Spanish OSHA Guy here. This is the fourth and last of my video series from the Binghamton, NY flood in Sept., 2011. In this current video you see a brief recap of some of the devastation in the city and at the school. Then I show you a quick clip of my hotel – 70 miles south in Scranton, PA. There were no hotels available in Binghamton or any of the surrounding cities and towns! The hotels and motels that were available were totally filled up with local residents who were displaced by the flood and the 100’s of volunteer and professional disaster relief workers who came to help.

It was really eerie when I got the call for this job. I was conducting an OSHA 10 construction course in Boston over a Thurs./Friday. On Thursday around lunchtime, I got a call from someone asking for me to provide a quote for training about 100 workers somewhere in New York state in English and Spanish, and to complete the training by Monday morning. I got excited because of the large job, but then I said that is impossible since OSHA only allows up to 40 people in a class, and each class must be conducted over at least 2 days! Furthermore my OSHA 10-hr in Boston didn’t finish up until Friday and then I actually had a First Aid/CPR class scheduled on Saturday in Waldwick, NJ (outside of New York City).

Well we talked, I submitted my price and by that night I had a deposit from them and I packed up to spend Friday in Boston, Saturday in Waldwick, NY and then Sunday-Monday-Tuesday in Binghamton, NY training on double-sessions! What was eerie about this was the phone call (Saturday afternoon after my First Aid/CPR training) that I made my point of contact for the disaster relief contractor who hired me. I remember that I was at a restaurant getting ready to head down to Binghamton, NY. I have gotten so used to traveling that sometimes when a last-minute job comes up like this I book my hotel right before I go. That was the case here as well. And right before we got off the phone, he rather quickly mentioned that I better book my hotel ASAP. I said “Why, what’s going on?”

The phone got very quiet and he said, “This whole area has been devastated by the flood. You might have to stay in Scranton, PA like another contractor I know.” I thanked him and then hung up. Then I opened the internet and searched for “flood binghamton, ny”. What I found was truly devastating. With all the rush on their end and on mine, I neglected to ask “Why” they needed the training on such short notice and -even though he knew I was coming from 6 hours away- they just assumed that I knew about the flood.

I learned my lesson and now whenever I get a request for training, I always ask why they are conducting or are interested in the training. There are other good reasons to ask this as well. I wish the brave people of Binghamton, NY and the surrounding area well as I do for those in NY and NY who recently experienced the same kind of devastating floods.

I’ll write again soon!

-Steve

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