One Foot Low

One Foot Low

The most important thing to remember when crawling around in an attic is “Don’t Step Between the Ceiling Joists.”  A great deal of time is spent in attics and upper floors, some unfinished, when you’re an electrician.  Whether crawling, squatting, treading the roof trusses in a bent over position, or laying across the insulation, it is imperative to always keep in mind that your foot or anything else can drive a hole in the ceiling below.

Even so, there have been many times that an attic or upper floor misstep has knocked out a piece of ceiling, causing a portion of the finished ceiling and insulation to drop to the floor below.  This entails a cleanup and repair job which sometimes can be more money than the electrician would make on the job.

One time my brother Marke and I were doing a job at a lumber yard on the weekend.  The place was closed for the weekend making it easier to do our work.  Most of the building was unfinished except for the office which had been nicely finished.  Marke was in the attic.  I went out to the pick up to get something and when I returned I noticed a ceiling tile hanging down and a pile of insulation underneath, on the floor.

We worked pretty hard to get the insulation cleaned up and the ceiling tile back in place so that it would look nice once again.  When we got done, if you looked close you could see that the ceiling had been repaired, but no one ever said anything.

That occasion reminds me of a tale another electrician told.  This electrician (a journeyman) was working with an apprentice on an old hotel in a small town.  The second floor had a hallway the length of the building with doors opening to the rooms and a window over the front door looking into the street.

The access to the attic was a small scuttle hole in the ceiling at one end of the hallway.  The apprentice was in the attic and the journeyman was in the hallway.  They were communicating via the “shout” method and had managed to work themselves a good distance down the hotel hallway from the scuttle hole.

They both heard the sirens at the same time.  The apprentice in the attic called out; “Is that a fire truck?”

The journeyman decided to give him a good scare (seeing that he was so far from the scuttle hole).

So he replied; “Just a fire truck going by.”

Then he added; “Oh, they’re stopping….at the front door.”

And followed that up with: “Now a bunch of men with axes are running in the front door.”

The journeyman turned around and the apprentice was standing right next to him, amongst a pile of ceiling material and insulation.

The apprentice said; “I wasn’t about to crawl half a block back to where the scuttle hole is.”