Facilities management operatives are usually called on to deal with workplace problems posed by humans, the deadliest and most ferocious of all species. But occasionally they can find themselves up against other dangerous wild animals in incongruous settings. Andrew Hulbert, managing director of Pareto FM, pulls on his safari jacket and adopts the hushed tones of TV naturalist David Attenborough to tell this story of FM gone wild.
Mid-February brought with it a particularly blustery day, as storm Doris hit the south region. Unfortunately for us, at one of our public attraction sites, this storm brought down a large oak tree in a farmer’s field on the boundary of the client site.
As the large oak fell, it was caught by the major power lines running through the farmer’s field. This was both good and bad news. Unfortunately, the tree had damaged the power lines, which took out the power to an entire village a short distance away. Fortunately, the power lines caught the tree and stopped it from falling on to the client’s fence and breaking it open. This fence on the client side contained ostriches, which are a category one animal, i.e. they pose risk to human life if they escape.
The local power services company arrived on site and demand that our team cut down the tree and allow it to fall on the ostrich fence, so they could reinstate power to the local village. They insisted that power to the local village was more important than the containment of the animals. Our team is well versed in animal welfare and public safety and insisted that whilst the power to the local visit was important, it was not worth smashing open an ostrich fence and potentially having large African wildlife on the loose in south-east England. After a power struggle between the power services engineers and our team, one of the Pareto managers called the farmer whose tree it was, and he kindly brought a large JCB down to the area and managed to remove the tree from the electric cabling without it falling on to the ostrich fence.
Power was restored to the village and the South East was once again safe from becoming the new Masai Mara.