The fire department came, and they were able to get into the Sprinkler Room and shut off the water. Then they helped us by using their big squeegees to get rid of much of our flood. When they left, though, we still had lots of mopping up to do, plus a warning that the water already in the lines would soon run out.
That when our island ways kicked in. Tom got out the towels for our cleanup. (I've written before about the usefulness of beach towels on North Caicos, noting mop-ups as one of their functions. We don't have as many towels here, but we used what we had.) I filled a big bucket with water, since we would soon have none. (Yes, I was taking it away from my neighbors; my justification was that they would need to cope only with a lack of water, while we had more problems.)
It wasn't fun to have to move furniture, find places to dry things out and have a bunch of wet towels waiting to be laundered, but the rule of the island helped us to cope. That rule? Don't trust the infrastructure; improvise.
When we first set up house on North Caicos, we left room for the possibility of things not working. Two water systems. A gas grill and camp stove in addition to an electric range. Hurricane lamps and candles. This just makes sense, because you never know.
We now live much of the year in the U.S., where infrastructure is more reliable, and island systems have improved considerably over the years, but complacency is dangerous. Our minor emergency was a reminder to us to keep all the "what ifs" in mind.
I'm no Luddite, but I try to remember the basics when I'm taking advantage of advanced technology. I keep an old-fashioned address book as well as a contacts list ... because what if the computer crashes or a smartphone battery dies just when you need it? And I shake my head when I see new buildings going up without windows that open. Do they really think the air conditioning system will always work? Better to behave as if the hurricane will come at any moment.
My lesson from yesterday is to hold onto that little bit of island in myself.