George Bonser gbonser at
Sun Jan 22 07:20:59 UTC 2012

> 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. 

Nope, no paper copies.  In fact, many of the documents such as maps and drawings are not even provided on paper anymore at any stage of the process.  It's all electronic.  The engineering drawings, maps, reports, plans, everything's electronic copy now.   If you want a copy to take to the field, you print one off and dispose of it when done unless you keep it in your personal storage (desk file drawer).

> 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

Nope, the paper maps have been disposed of as they have become obsolete and replaced with electronic copy.  It requires space to store all those documents.  Space costs money.  I'm being absolutely serious here.  Not only are many of these municipalities no longer storing paper copies, they are storing them "in the cloud" that might become completely unreachable during an emergency.  My jaw just about hit the floor when it was explained to me what one town in California was doing.  Those people are going to be just about completely helpless in an emergency but they are doing it because they are running out of money.  Pensions are eating that town alive.  

Their emergency drills do not include a loss of connectivity to the cloud.

> 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.

I am talking here about the process internal to the government agency, not drills concerning the public.  In case of an emergency where they are cut off from Google, that town government will have no email and no access to their documents.  They have no other mechanism, they can't afford it.  The days when a city could actually have contingency plans are just about over.  Pensions are eating them up so badly, they are just barely able to function at all.  I'm being dead serious.  Larger cities such as San Jose have about 10 years left.  The Mayor of SJC said that in about 12 years the city will not be able to provide any services whatsoever.  Pensions will take 100% of city revenue.  They have already started closing the libraries.

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