Friday, August 15, 2003

Power to the people

I live in New York City. When power suddenly disappeared I began looking for a dark cloud drifting over. When people started calling from all over the city asking if we had power I was sure the cloud would be bigger and darker than I even imagined. I was really hoping it was not the Indian Point nuclear plant that went offline.

Our power came back at 4:01AM on Friday the 15th. Purely professionally, I have to assume that

  1. Not everyone has power yet
  2. Some service level agreements will not be kept
  3. Many heads will roll as a result of #2 above and because it will be clear that disaster recovery is still not 100%

However this was caused, one can hardly expect a better test for the IT industry's disaster recovery. Power went out while trading was still going on, and work day was not yet done. If people had backup facilities in Brooklyn or NJ - they were affected too. Luckily today is Friday and so lots of people will have a *very* long weekend in front of them, which is better than having a very long week had this happened on a Monday.

Obviously, the same kind of thinking goes for all emergency response teams, uniformed personnel, and emergency procedures testing. The city and the country could not have asked for a better test of their readiness to a major disruption. However this blackout occurred [<conspiracy hthat>at>like we will ever find out the real reason. How do we know this was not an intentional test by our government?</conspiracy that>] it certainly should be used to draw lessons in police and fire fighting deployments, ability to coordinate emergency services in the dark with many amenities like cell phones not working or working unreliably, testing hospital and other generators. Whoever has not filled up their generators with diesel yesterday will not make that mistake again for a long time again. I am waiting to see how various parts of the infrastructure did overall.

an aside: Looting in Ottawa? Are we just not reporting USA-based looting or were there not enough forces deployed in Ottawa to keep order?


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