Thursday, November 13, 2008

Whiteboard Jungle: Is This Another Drill? Pt. 2

You may recall my mention of the annual fire drill, followed an hour later by an actual earthquake. Well, this time things were the other way around.

While the State of California was apparently having an earthquake drill, we had a real fire. Sort of.

Around 11:30 this morning... we suddenly lost power. As I was in the middle of the most godawful tedious, I'm-totally-above-this, I'm-only-doing-this-because-listening-to-someone-else-bitch-about-it-would-arguably-be-more-painful task, and I hadn't saved my work in about 15 minutes, boom, there went my computer, along with that of everyone who wasn't using a charged laptop.

About 5 minutes later, before the shock had worn off, the fire alarm went off. Most of us decided we might as well leave, because, well, we couldn't work and it was getting to be lunchtime anyway. But then the floor wardens donned their orange vests, because apparently it was a real alarm.

Of course, no one milling around the parking lot outside had the whole story, only eighteenth-hand gossip. "Oh, a power something on the 4th floor stopped working and smoke started coming out."

Then the fire engines came! One drove right up to the our building, after weaving through the always overcrowded visitor parking lot and past some trailers and production trucks. Weee!!!!


After we signed in and milled around forever and we were told that the LA Fire Department was going to have to inspect the building before anyone could go back anyway, most people went to lunch.

There was another fire engine, this one with a ladder, waiting just inside the gate, I guess in case another building had a mishap, or because it was so long it wasn't worth trying to maneuver through the narrow streets unless necessary.

When we got back, power had just been restored after about 2 hours. The official story is that the DWP broke something and the eastern half of the lot lost power. Including the data center. The AC units crapped out first, and the rooms hit about 90F before the power came back. But what happened in our building was rather impressive. Apparently when the power shorted out all of a sudden, someone on the third floor noticed smoke coming from their laptop, hence the fire alarm.


Except they decided not to let anyone back on the third floor for the rest of the day to air it out and sent the people who worked there home.

I work on the fifth floor. Not cool.

I haven't been able to find a news story link, maybe because a localized DWP outage is not terribly newsworthy (after all, no cute animals were involved, and I will refrain from commenting on the reliability of DWP power), but while checking the local TV station sites, I noticed something rather... unfortunate on one. The big local headline is the evacuation of parts of Montecito, a very affluent small town just outside Santa Barbara, due to wildfires. In the sidebar, aligned right next to the headline, was an embedded Google map of the Los Angeles area with the title "Hot Spots." Not aware that there was more than one local fire zone at the moment, I moused over... The first hotspot in question was apparently a restaurant. Oh. How embarrassing.

I'm not saying the people who do local news are morons, but, geez, people.

P.S. I think I might be the only person who thought to take pictures of the fire engines with my phone. I mean, yeah, we work on a movie lot, but dude, real fire engines! And not for the annual safety fair, either!

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