August 31st, 2005

Dancing Thru

Excitement of the day

The fire alarms went off not long after lunch. I've been doing emergency response team stuff for over 20 years, with three different companies, so I swung into action. Clearing the building was hard, because everyone (particularily managers) figured it was just a drill, so they were going to blow it off. Glad I have an orange vest and a gear pack. If someone dressed that way is telling them "no, this is NOT a drill!" they start to realize it's not a drill. Getting people away from the buildings was also a problem. We ERT folks couldn't get them to go to the designated assembly points (ack, herding cats and engineers is the same!), so we settled on away from the buildings.

No one knew what was going on, including us. But a large crew of fire department trucks showed up. At that point, people stopped trying to argue with us. The fire department apparently found some folks in a restricted-access lab downstairs who were ignoring the alarms. We saw them escort about 10 people out. About 10 minutes later, we got a radio report that things looked okay, but we still were not clear to re-enter. Another 10 minutes, and we got an all clear. One of the fire department guys coming out of the building told me it was a malfunctioning smoke detector, not a fire. Good. But it's better to have a not-a-drill like this, with nothing really wrong, because then you start to realize what you'll be up against if something major happens.
  • Current Music
    claxons from the fire alarms
Dancing Thru

A Funeral for New Orleans

I kept finding myself humming "When the Saints Go Marching In" and realized it's traditional New Orleans funeral music, except this time, it's a funeral FOR New Orleans. Because no matter what happens, New Orleans that we knew is gone. As has been said on the news, this is of a magnitude of European cities that were destroyed in WWII.

But those were destroyed by man. Man destroys, and man rebuilds. But when nature destroys, it often makes rebuilding...difficult. New Orleans was on borrowed time. The Army Corps of Engineers was keeping it on life support, and has been manning the pumps and the levees for years. It sounds like they are going to try to resussitate the patient. But for how long? The current projections for the ultimate fate of New Orleans were already projecting a loss of the city for later in this century. Maybe this is just the best time to unplug the old girl. It's been a great ride, and we'll miss her terribly, but ultimately, she's going anyway.

Damn, I had been hoping to take a paddlewheeler down the river to New Orleans sometime in the next few years, too.
  • Current Music
    When the Saints Go Marching In