Sunday night, I was attempting to take McKenna's temperature. As I was shaking down the old school mercury thermometer, I whacked it on the side of the dresser/changing table and mercury and glass scattered! I carefully picked up McKenna and took her to the other room. Then I came back in to see the damage.
The glass was fairly well contained, but there were tiny beads of mercury all over the dresser. But it didn't look like a lot of mercury - not enough to fill the thermometer, even though I really had no idea what that amount would look like. So I started searching the carpet, hoping to find one single good sized bead that could be collected, so my mind could be at ease. There was a distinct possibility that as I shook the thermometer back up after hitting it, that mercury could have flown out to really any part of the bedroom. Not just any bedroom - our childrens' bedroom. You know, the little people with the newly forming brains and organs. Mom of the year right here, people!
I called my mom to see how to clean up the mercury and she volunteered to come right over and help. Brian wasn't home from church yet, but he got home soon after she got here. We did a quick search on the internet and realized this was a bigger deal than we had thought. The mercury on the dresser wasn't a biggie, but the possibility it was in the carpet was no bueno. Turns out you can't vacuum up mercury. It vaporizes and that's when it gets really dangerous. Everything we could find said that there is no way to clean carpet,, it must be cut out and replaced!
So Brian, being the very cautious person he normally is, but this time it being very warranted, called the non-emergency fire department line to see what would be the proper way to clean this up.
We're not sure if it's just standard protocol, or if they were just having a slow night, but the Redondo Beach Fire Department sent not one, not two, but a total of 3 vehicles out to our house. 1 large fire truck pulled up first. And before they left, an even bigger fire truck and an SUV type truck that I've been informed by Becca that was probably the Battalion Chief. Slight overkill! And of course, all our neighbors came out to see what the hubbub was about.
The 1st truckload came in the house, looked at the spill and um...had no advice other than to clean it up with a paper towel off the dresser and to call HazMat about the carpet. Really? You've brought no less than 8 fireman total to our house and your only advice is something you could have easier told us on the phone without making us the freakshow of the neighborhood? Thanks!
They were actually horribly nice fireman. Austin was way excited about the firetruck. At one point I asked him to say hi to the fireman and he actually pushed the guy out of his way so he could see the truck. Such a polite little boy!
Here's the best pictures I could get while trying not to look like the freakshow of the neighborhood. One of the firemen gave Austin a sticker badge. He was in heaven.
Our main concerns were what do we do about the carpet and what if some got in or on McKenna. We ended up calling Poison Control, (who we really should have called first!) who reassured us that the amount was small enough that we weren't in any danger, which is what we really thought in the first place before Dr. Google freaked us out. But they did say that we shouldn't vacuum if it's in the carpet. While I'm all up for deleting things off my household chores list, that didn't seem like a good fix. So we were pleased that the HazMat guy could come first thing in the morning.
In the meantime we had a sleepover at my parents' house. Normally we would have just had the kids sleep w/ us, but the only working toilet in the house was the one off their room. (Thanks to the cutest almost two year old who proudly exclaimed "Bye-Bye" as he flushed the large top to the nasal spray down the toilet Saturday morning, warranting a visit from the plumbers and it re-stopped up Sunday!) So a mini vaca it was. We packed up what we could, which wasn't much because all their clothes were in the "exposure zone". The HazMat guy came Monday and cleaned up the spill and thankfully there was none on the carpet. Cuz while we wouldn't have to change it, it would have been safer to do so. I know that's probably overkill, but better safe than sorry with little developing brains, right?
So the last two days have been filled with getting our house back in order. Monday Brian cleaned the room from top to bottom and starting loads of laundry - all the bedding plus any drawers that were open and all the clean loads that were in the splash zone that were waiting to be put away. And I've spent the rest of the time folding and putting all that away. What a pain!
Whoda thunk this would be that big of a deal!?!