Aug. 17th, 2017 06:10 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
11 hours at work today. We activate the school's emergency operations center for major move-in days because of the scale and complexity of the operation in the field. 50+ officers on traffic control, several hundred employees and volunteers wrangling parking and carts and check-in and all the other details, food and water and communications support for all of those people... it gets big.

My job in the EOC is operations manager - basically the same as it was at my last workplace, but with a bit more autonomy. I'm supposed to know enough about the field operation and the other people in the room to know who to put in position to solve which problems. I also have to maintain situational awareness over the room and the field and handle radio communication with the field folks.

So for most of that 11 hours, I was running in about a 5- to 10-minute cycle that went something like:

Check weather radar on one big screen to see if we're about to get hit with a pop-up.

Check separate lightning tracking system on a second big screen to see if we have any active thunderstorms in the region.

Take a help line call from an incoming freshman (or freshman's parent) who doesn't know what residence hall he's supposed to move into today. Wonder aloud about the likely academic success of someone who drives to campus without knowing where he's supposed to put his stuff.

Check the tracking system on a third big screen for numbers of students moved in through each residence hall and unloading zone.

Tab over to one of three different sites with move-in info to look up information for one of my colleagues who's answering the move-in help lines.

Check the fire department dispatch board on a fourth big screen for any runs on or near campus that might have to come through our traffic patterns.

Check security cameras on the left half of the video wall for any indications of issues in the unloading zones or residence hall check-in desks.

Check city traffic cameras on the right half of the video wall for any indications of traffic problems.

Make sure the cops working my assigned sector are okay.

Make sure everyone else working the room has what they need.

Take a help line call from someone who failed to follow instructions and is trying to follow Waze directions into our traffic pattern going the wrong way. Tab over to Google Maps, find their current location, give them turn-by-turn directions to the residence hall inflow streets.

Tab over to a third weather site to check wind gusts. Provide my cops a weather update on the radio.

Listen to the cops report that yet another GPS zombie tried to enter the traffic pattern the wrong way, completely ignoring the orange cones, the cop in the eye-searing fluorescent vest, and the car with badges and red-and-blue flashy lights.


tegyrius: (Default)
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this blog post, in which the author discusses the ways in which GMing and leading raids in WoW prepared him for a project management career.

So much resonance.

I've joked before about the crossover between full-scale disaster exercises and LARPs. At least, a lot of people who've heard that have thought I was joking. A smaller subset knows I'm not.

A lot of what we do in emergency management involves constructing hypothetical scenarios that have to be plausible and internally consistent, and then figuring out how to respond to them. Whether we're doing that on our own in the office or pulling together a cross-functional team from both the expected and the unlikely response agencies, we do a lot of forward-looking problem-solving. What we call a "tabletop exercise," most gamers would recognize immediately as a rules-light gaming session. There aren't polyhedral dice or (usually) character sheets because most of the participants are in play as themselves or their agencies, but the flow of discussion between players and the exercise controllers (read: GMs) is pretty much what I've been doing in this hobby for decades.

I'm not exactly getting paid to participate in my hobby but a surprising amount of the skill set is applicable...


Apr. 23rd, 2017 08:26 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
New job starts tomorrow.

I'm still not convinced this is the right move for me. The new place has some very high expectations. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to live up to them. Nor am I certain that the social environment is going to be one I find particularly welcoming.

On the other hand, I am pretty well convinced that staying where I was would have been a wrong move (so to speak). It's become pretty clear over the last few months that the organization is going to remain ineffectual, if not outright crippled, until something drastic happens at a very high pay grade. I would not have been in a position to effect meaningful change, and I do not do well when I'm not allowed to unfuck problems that are within my capacity and willingness.


Aug. 26th, 2016 05:21 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Chaotic System)
"Attention, Engine 10: respond to the vicinity of Georgetown and Citation. Caller advises she thinks she saw a bird hit a line... of some sort. After the bird or whatever hit the line, it fell to the ground. It is on fire. The grass is on fire. Near a bus stop."


Nov. 18th, 2015 05:29 pm
tegyrius: (catfood)
Sometimes at work, I listen to the fire department channels when something interesting something with the potential to escalate is happening. Today, there was a minor structure fire.

Ladder 2: Please advise the homeowner that we're closing the door and leaving the cat inside.

Command: Is the cat accounted for?

Ladder 2: That's affirmative. It's under the bed. It doesn't like firefighters.


Jul. 29th, 2015 09:19 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Ubiquitous Surveillance)
Want to know what my peeps in Lexington Fire are doing right now?


Mar. 5th, 2015 03:55 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Ubiquitous Surveillance)
Yesterday morning: spent over hour stopping traffic on a flooded road (with cold rain still coming down) before the PD got someone with strobes and a badge to close said road.

Got to the office, listened to the morning National Weather Service conference call, realized that the forecast had not gotten any better and Lexington was still due for about a foot of snow.

Shortly thereafter, got tapped for the night watch shift in the EOC. Went home around 11, ate, tried unsuccessfully to sleep.

Was completely fine all night. Well, had a bit of doziness around 0400, but I don't think I actually passed out at my desk and my logs and the office social media accounts reveal no notable shenanigans.

Was on duty from 6 last night to 6:30 this morning. Briefed my relief, excavated the Subversaru, and clawed my way out of the PD parking lot. Ran about 30-35mph on New Circle, 25mph on surface roads. Saw about as many stranded vehicles as moving ones.

Got home shortly after 7, which was amazingly good considering the condition of the roads. Once I got off the Priority 1 and Priority 2 roads, the neighborhoods weren't plowed. Found several spots that were deeper than the Subversaru's ground clearance. Only had one bad moment, making the turn off the last P1 main artery onto the first surface street, when a 90º turn went to about 135º with a shimmy and some ass-shaking.

Ate breakfast, decompressed, went to bed around 9am - up for 27 hours. Woke up around noon, ate lunch, have since been absolutely useless. [ profile] elalyr is now excavating sidewalk and driveway. Will join her shortly.

I still feel like someone poured hot sand in my skull and it's trickling out my eye sockets. I love my job (never thought I'd say that) but I should have started doing this a decade ago when I was still young enough to not suffer for two days after an all-nighter.


Jan. 25th, 2015 08:06 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
I think the last time I watched television news was the weeks after 9/11. For me, the signal-to-propaganda ratio is no longer favorable. Fox is better pronounced "Faux," the rest of the national channels fail to deliver anything of substance, and the local programming isn't even on my radar.

This piece on television news' loss of legitimacy in the eyes of anyone under 40 is well-presented, interesting, and a bit disturbing. I'm looking at it not only as a member of that age range, but as someone whose job may occasionally involve getting citizens to take actions to save their own lives. How do we reach a fairly large demographic that fundamentally distrusts - or outright ignores - the only information channels that our chain of command wants us to use?

ETA: Chain of command reference here is in a general sense. In my specific office, I'm fortunate to have a director who gets social media's importance. A lot of shops run by Boomers who still think of Facebook as a fad don't always have that recognition at the policy-setting level.


Oct. 3rd, 2014 06:50 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
If you're an American who doesn't travel to western Africa, you're more likely to die of influenza than Ebola...

... so please get an effing flu shot this year.


Mar. 2nd, 2014 07:57 am
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Lexington and Louisville: Winter storm warning now begins at 9:00 am today. Lexington can see freezing rain as early as 4:00 pm. We're looking at a quarter- to half-inch of ice overnight, with six or more inches of snow coming on top of it before noon tomorrow.

If you don't hear much from me for the next few days, it's probably because I'm either in the EOC or asleep.


Mar. 1st, 2014 06:32 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Kentucky folks - severe weather inbound. Potential half-inch of ice and 4-6 inches of snow Sunday night. Check your preps tonight and run any essential errands tomorrow before midafternoon.


tegyrius: (Default)

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