JC Dill jcdill.lists at
Sun Jan 22 03:39:22 UTC 2012

On 21/01/12 12:19 PM, George Bonser wrote:
> Imagine a situation where several municipal governments in, say, Santa 
> Cruz County, California are using such services and there is a repeat 
> of the Loma Prieta quake. Their data survives in Santa Clara county, 
> their city offices survive but there is considerable damage to 
> infrastructure and structures in their jurisdiction. But the 
> communications is cut off between them and their data and time to 
> repair is unknown. The city is now without email service. Employees in 
> one department can't communicate with other departments. Access to 
> their files is gone. They can't get the maps that show where those gas 
> lines are. The local file server that had all that information was 
> retired after the documents were transferred to "the cloud" and the 
> same happened to the local mail server. At this point they are "flying 
> blind" or relying on people's memories or maybe a scattering of 
> documents people had printed out or saved local copies of. It's going 
> to be a mess.

This is what disaster simulations are for, to suss out these problems 
before a disaster and put in systems to avoid the mess.

In the real world, while a city might keep the digital documents "in the 
cloud" they would also (always) have paper copies, because in a big 
emergency their computers (local mail/file servers or internet access to 
the cloud) are likely to be unavailable, power or internet access is 
likely to be disrupted.  In a true emergency such as Loma Prieta, they 
are going to reach for the paper maps that were printed and saved for 
just this eventuality, and part of the emergency preparedness is to have 
a regular process to print and save updated maps (every year or 6 months 
or month or whenever there's a major change - each department will 
undoubtedly have their own metrics depending on how critical their maps 
are).  If you haven't participated in your city/county CERT training and 
disaster simulation exercises, I highly suggest you get involved.  CERT 
is a great program and will really help open your eyes to many types of 
emergency planning you probably haven't thought about.  Plus, the more 
involved you are with CERT the more you are "known" to your local 
disaster management teams, and the better access you will have to them 
in the event of a major disaster.


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