Posted by: thediygeochemist | May 1, 2010

looking back #8: The Great Escape

When I taught Search & Rescue for the local CERT group, I used to tell students that the number one tool they could use was their mind. In any emergency situation, things will usually not go as planned, so innovation and imagination become absolute necessities. To illustrate my point, I’d tell about my own rescue–which I captured in writing the day after it happened.

* * *
March 23, 2006

Last night, about 9 pm, I went to the bathroom. Afterwards, I unlocked the door and turned the doorknob. For some reason, even though the knob turned, the door acted like it was still locked. Uh oh. Banging on the door, I summoned the nearest kid (Lew), who skipped off happily to find his father.

We’ve had kids lock themselves in the bathroom before, so we knew the drill. UnlikelyDad found a screwdriver and removed the knob. He slid the little latch thing to the side and pushed on the door. Nothing.

After many minutes of frantic manipulation of the door mechanism, we decided to go for plan 2: remove the hinges from the door. The hinges were on my side, of course, so UnlikelyDad had to pass me the hammer and screwdriver through the window. I pried the pins free with little trouble,then gave him the signal to push from the other side. Again, no luck. That door has always been really tight fitting; we couldn’t move it more than a fraction of an inch.

We tried several more lock-picking maneuvers with no success.

By this time I’d been stuck in the bathroom for well over an hour. (Thank goodness the kids were in bed–it is the only bathroom we have!) I was pretty desperate to get out. In desperation, I asked my husband to pass me a hacksaw blade. (This one could fit through the hole in the door!) I sawed through the bolt. Well, I sawed through about 3/4 of the way, which was about as far as I could, given the tight quarters. Then UnlikelyDad rammed into the door with his shoulder and snapped off the little bit that remained.

Just before midnight, I was finally free. I don’t think I ever want to have to break out of jail: sawing through bars is tough work. But at least I know how to do it now. If I ever get stuck in the slammer, one of you send me a hacksaw blade baked into a cake, ok?

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