Skip to content

Please add_protective_actions_here.

May 29, 2009

Well, the weather in DC has been pretty crappy the last couple of weeks…mostly rain, humidity, and heat. But we’ve been getting some serious thunderstorms, which have caused all kinds of road blockages, power outages, and Memorial Day Plans changes. One of the ways in which I find out about these potentially life-annoying weather disasters is through the DC Alert system. Now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually a big proponent of the DC Alert system.

DC Alert, for those of you who are DC-area novices, is our version of Code Maroon (for the Aggies) – a service you sign up for via the web which lets you know of any life-altering disturbances in traffic flow, weather patterns, or potential terrorist (pronounced in W fashion, turrrrrrist) activities. I got on because I like to know what’s happening in my city, and because it helps you find out when work might be closed (i.e. due to ice!).

If you live in DC and are interested in the service, you can sign up at Alert DC to get your honestly helpful tidbits emailed.

Now for the funny part. Sometimes, juuuuust sometimes, DC Alert gets ahead of itself. I like to picture in my head DC Alert headquarters, a giant room full of people on computers, watching the weather channel, and throwing bouncy balls at the wall. In comes the thunderstorm watch from the National Weather Service – BAM! Intern #1 grabs the report, runs to the computer, and in a desperate fight to get the DC Alert out to us, the taxpayers, before the Weather Channel can put out its own bulletin to us, the consumers, Intern #1 accidentally hits “Send ALL” before hitting “Fill In the Boxes.” What results is the following, courtesy of my gmail inbox:

AlertDC

to Weather

show details 1:49 PM (1 hour ago)
Reply
Follow up message

NWS issued a type WATCH for the District from Date_format=_hh:mm_mm/dd/yy to Date_format=_hh:mm_mm/dd/yy . Please add_protective_actions_here .

Sent by DC HSEMA to e-mail, pagers, cell phones….powered by Cooper Notification RSAN

– You received this alert because you registered for AlertDC.
– Go to https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/mygroups.php to change subscriptions.
– Go to https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/sendpassword.php to reset password.
– Reply STOP to end all alerts & messages.

– Tell a friend about Alert DC!  Text “DC” to 411911, or sign-up at https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/

And then, about half an hour later…

AlertDC

to Weather

show details 2:15 PM (1 hour ago)
Reply
Follow up message

We apologize for the previous alert. The alert was accidentally sent out prior to its completion.

The alert should have read as follows:

National Weather Service reports the D.C. Metro area is under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 8:00PM tonight. Severe thunderstorms may affect the D.C. area this afternoon and evening. Please take proper precautions and remain vigilant for further alerts.

Sent by DC HSEMA to e-mail….powered by Cooper Notification RSAN

– You received this alert because you registered for AlertDC.
– Go to https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/mygroups.php to change subscriptions.
– Go to https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/sendpassword.php to reset password.
– Reply STOP to end all alerts & messages.

– Tell a friend about Alert DC!  Text “DC” to 411911, or sign-up at https://textalert.ema.dc.gov/

Whew! Thanks for the update, DC Alert, I don’t know if I could have made it if the WATCH had stayed _protective_action_less! My heart goes out to the poor intern, though, at least the one in my head. I mean, we’ve all “Reply All”ed with a stupid personal anecdote, or an embarrassingly obvious typo…but when we “Reply All” it doesn’t go to the whole tri-state area. Best of luck, Intern #1 – and thanks for the laughs.

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    June 1, 2009 4:24 pm

    I don’t think the person pinch-hitting for Intern #1 did a much better job. There isn’t much difference between “_protective_action” and “proper precautions.” Neither one says much of anything. And if the spread of the flu and the way drivers slide on ice are indicative of how people interpret “proper precautions,” I’m a little worried about leaving people up to their own devices.

    And not to split hairs here, but “vigilant for further alerts”? “Vigilant” does mean watchful, but it is used 99 percent of the time with something to be afraid of, i.e. vigilant for strangers, vigilant for suspicious activities, vigilant for thieves. I’m not sure what there is to fear in further alerts… unless the ensuing messages are more like the first one.

  2. lisam permalink
    June 3, 2009 10:38 am

    Such a good point, Rob. Such a good point. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. AlertDC hilarity continues « A Cupcake in Paris

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: