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Not All Heroes Wear Capes

3 August, 2020

Not all heroes wear capes, most of the time they go undercover. Luckily, some things help us reveal their identity: a stethoscope, a safety helmet, ice water on a hot summer day, a plunger when things get messy and the list continues.

This story’s hero is recognisable by his working overalls and safety boots. Going by the name of Paul Hovvels, a Drainage Technician at Metro Rod Nottingham & Derby, UK, came to the rescue when no one else would.

Blockages happen all the time, regardless of the world’s medical and social conditions. In April, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham experienced an emergency with a blocked stack in the COVID-19 ward. After discussions on how the unblocking should be safely tackled, as large noisy equipment was considered unsuitable, the difficult decision was taken to go into the ward and resolve the issue from there. The critical situation called for an urgent intervention as people’s health was at risk. With no time to waste, a RIDGID FlexShaft was purchased from Dart Systems Ltd, delivered and ready to be used the day after. As tough times get the best out of people, Paul, husband and father of two, volunteered to get the job done.

Dressed by the nurses in extensive Personal Protective Equipment and armed with his FlexShaft machine in his hands, Paul was determined to enter the ward and get this blockage cleared. Working in between two beds of patients in an induced coma, covered in PPE that limited his movement, he worked carefully and quietly. Only after a few hours, in an oppressive silence where he could hear his thoughts and the soft rumbling of the machine in action, he managed to clear the blockage without flooding, damage or risk for the patients.  While working, 3x5 gallon drums of release water from the ventilators needed to be emptied to prevent the machines from stalling, indicating the urgency and importance of a fully cleaned stack.

Once the job was done, Paul received a well-deserved round of applause for his bravery and desire to help even under special circumstances. He got home at 4:45 AM, still impressed with what had just happened and realised the importance of the job he does, especially when it concerns drain cleaning services to hospitals and other facilities where people are at risk. The experience made him appreciate how lucky he was to go home to his wife and kids safe and in good health, thinking of all those brave nurses working day and night keeping people alive.

Looking back at this challenge, Thomas Shevlin, Business Manager at Metro Rod Nottingham & Derby concludes: “FlexShaft is not just another addition to a van pack, it does the job that no other tool can do.” When heroes like Paul have great tools at hand, magic happens and it can often save the day.