Wednesday, April 9
Tuesday, April 8
See that hand in the middle holding up the black DS? That is exactly what my hand looked like last year. The “Welcome Home” just hits that feeling perfectly.
If you aren’t going to PAX you should be. Click the banner. So not kidding. Click it RIGHT NOW.
I participated in the state-wide earthquake drill known as Sound Shake ‘08.
I work for the University of Washington, so we were in full swing with our emergency preparedness. We had at least one of our Unit Response Centers open as well as our Emergency Operations Center. It was actually some fun times. I didn’t have a distinguished role, and since it was just a drill there really wasn’t too much for me to do besides deliver the occasional fake faxes from fake people.
That meant I got to more or less sit back and enjoy all the fake chaos. Here’s my log from the day, but keep in mind this is only about a fourth (if that) of the incidents that we had to resolve:
8:05am - We have a fake earthquake on the Seattle fault of 6.7 magnitude.
8:30am - I arrive at the EOC and have no idea what is going on or what I should do.
8:45am - I settle in with my free bagel and crack open the lap top for some quality time with my email.
9:00am - The phones start ringing like there’s no tomorrow.
9:57am - All campus land lines go down. Half the residence halls catch on fire.
10:03am - Balmer Hall and Savery Hall collapse.
10:04am - Our first briefing: Several bridges in Seattle collapse. People start looting the UW Bookstore. Suzallo Library, Bagley Hall, and McMahon Hall are all on fire. Several gas leeks everywhere.
10:10am - Most of the buildings around Red Square and the Quad are evacuated due to the earthquake disrupting asbestos.
10:11am - Huge chunks of the viaduct fall on to 25th. Bus 372 is trapped under one of the chunks.
10:15am - Julia and I decide to join everyone raiding the Bookstore in order to steal medical and law texts to sell online.
10:25am - All drinking water on campus is compromised due to sewage leaks.
10:27am - The Padelford parking garage collapses.
10:47am - We get a request for 50 gallons of water for animals in a 1.3 million dollar research study. However, animals are sixth priority on the list and we have barely enough water for the humans, so they probably all die.
11:00am - The Burke Museum collapses. Reports come in that Husky Stadium is still standing but starting to crumble a bit.
11:06am - Radiation spill in UWMC.
11:17am - Reports of an incoming thunderstorm. It’s suppose to arrive around 2pm, which means we have three hours to find non-collapsed buildings for people to take shelter in. Also, the storm means we won’t be getting air support from the city or military.
11:18am - Everyone in McMahon 8 is trapped. HFS wants to know if they should start giving away free food.
11:34am - 100 fire alarms are going off around campus, so we no longer know which ones are real. The 911 lines are overloaded.
11:35am - The first reported fatalities. Two dead at UW Tacoma.
11:41am - A 5.8 aftershock forces us all to duck and cover. Once it’s over our building is still in tact, and pizza has fallen onto some tables set up in the back. Also, our phone lines conveniently go dead for exactly 30 minutes so that we can enjoy said pizza.
12:23pm - A sky bridge over Montlake falls and blocks traffic.
12:31pm - A cute guy sits near me and talks to me about my Penny-Arcade stickers.
12:32pm - Cute guy is too busy with fake emergencies to talk anymore.
12:33pm - Residents of McCarty Hall are trapped.
12:43pm - One of the switchboard operators yells for someone who speaks Chinese. No one does.
12:49pm - The scoreboard falls on some high school students in Hec Ed. Five dead.
1:10pm - Our EOC Director is admitted to UWMC for severe trauma and injuries. He will not be able to return to work for at least two weeks.
1:15pm - The county morgue is full up with dead bodies and refuse to accept anymore.
1:17pm - The cute guy leaves.
1:45pm - We get several reports of smoke and fire at the Power Plant. One person calls in to report that there are people flying out of the windows.
1:51pm - A cyber terrorist takes advantage of the chaos and sends out a virus that takes out our main email and internet servers.
2:01pm - One of the towers in Red Square collapses. The Governor’s office calls and demands a report in 30 minutes.
2:02pm - The official count is 51 minor injuries, 21 major injuries, 10 deaths that we know about so far.
2:26pm - There are 20-25 rogue dogs at the tennis courts.
2:42pm - There is a woman going into labor on the fourth floor of the 4545 building.
2:44pm - Our EOC Director returns in ‘bloody’ bandages and his arm in a sling. He says that the doctors told him that he needed to stay in the hospital, but he couldn’t stay knowing that we needed him. He gets a standing ovation.
2:48pm - 50ft deep sinkhole appears on Steven’s Way.
3:00pm - Alanis Moriessette appears in the street, takes a deep breath, and sets the world back to the way it was.
When all is said and done, it really was a great experience and important drill. We all learned a lot about what would and wouldn’t work in an emergency, and the EOC operators were amazing when it came to response time and incident resolution - fake or not. I’m really glad I had the chance to see this all in action!