It's a steel roof, which is slippery when wet, but you're supposed to be able to walk on it with rubber soled shoes when it's dry. I was just up there the other day to caulk around a leaky vent pipe and didn't have any problem then, but the leak didn't stop, so I went back up there today to caulk some more. I kneeled down to do the caulking and, when I went to stand up, I couldn't get my feet under me. I think what happened is I got some of that silicone caulk on the soles of my shoes and it reacted with the rubber. I tried to clean the shoes up later, but the rubber had gotten all hard and stiff, so I threw the shoes away. They were about 30 years old and I was only saving them for going on the roof anyway.

Well, I couldn't get up, and when I tried to crawl on my hands and knees, I just kept slipping farther down the slope. As I slipped past the aforementioned vent pipe, I grabbed it with both hands and hung on. At this point I was laying on my side, but I'm not sure how I got in that position. It's only a one story house, so I considered letting go and sliding right off the roof, but then I thought better of it. I have a bad back you know, and I am no spring chicken anymore. So I hollared at my hypothetical wife and told her to call 911.

In the US, 911 is the universal number that you call for any kind of emergency, and the dispatcher sends whatever help they determine is needed. In a matter of minutes, an ambulance, a fire truck, and two pickup trucks pulled into our driveway. The pickups were owned by vounteer firemen who, when called out, will drive directly to the site if it's closer than the fire hall. It took three different guys on three different ladders to get me down safely because I couldn't stand up until I had something to brace myself against.

All things considered, it could have been worse.