Monday night was probably one of the most stressful of my career. I’m basing that on the knots in my stomach and the bottle of wine I consumed after work.1 In a nutshell, a circuit panel blew out in our building and a full two-thirds of our system(s) went down in the blink of an eye.
As part of our ongoing reconfiguration, I am currently detailed to the Fire/EMS side of operations. At the direction of the RC,2 I quickly ran down the hallway and setup one of the few functional terminals. Within minutes, I had a summation of everything going out and coming in. Let me clarify that statement. Instead of being in charge of one channel focused on a section of the city, I’m now in charge of 5 channels encompassing the entire city! No pressure right? No, not at all. lolol Anyway, with the help of my co-workers and others I managed to bang thru it. I don’t think I did anything exceptional as frankly, it is my job but whatever. The work itself wasn’t overly taxing but I just couldn’t shake the awful feeling some calls might have fallen thru the cracks. There was no way to stop and check and I was too busy at the time to worry beyond the present. There was easily a 10 minute window between when the system went down and getting it back up. Meanwhile, call-takers are still trying to input calls into the terminals that did not go down. I know I bitch and moan at times about the crazy public but, I take my responsibilities very serious. It bothered me thru the whole ordeal and all thru the night afterwards.
The system came back up just in time for me to get off on time.3 I left relieved but I tossed and turned all night worrying some calls might have slipped thru the cracks. I personally felt like we failed the public that night. There is a silver lining here though. After polling all the terminals yesterday, we discovered there was in fact no lost calls. Everything got handled. A huge relief, I don’t mine telling you.
Yesterday, we were on a patchwork system which apparently went down again mid-day (prior to my shift). My shift went off without any problems. Parts are being flown in to create a permanent fix from what I’ve been told. There is also a redundancy system being added to hopefully avoid such a catastrophe in the future. I shudder to think what would have occurred had this happened on a busy night like New Year’s Eve. And I could go the rest of my career and not have to do that again and be completely happy.