After a hectic week of being locked away in a warehouse in Denver, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Vancouver getting ready to board a ship to Alaska. Now that’s it’s all over I can give a few more details as to what I was up to last week.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a federal emergency response team. I won’t identify the team, otherwise I’d have to get approval to write about it, but we’re one of the groups that’s called in to deal with major disasters. Our team is one of a few specialized ones, and aside from regular disaster work we’re dedicated to providing medical response to any incidents involving a weapon of mass destruction. We’re trained to provide medical care and mass decontamination under pretty much any circumstances (thus all the hazmat training). We’ve never actually responded to any WMD incidents, and sometimes I wonder how much longer we’ll have that mission. Back when the team was created there weren’t any significant decontamination resources in the country; even the military only had 1 domestic team. Now, pretty much every fire department has at least some decon capabilities.
Still, we’re the most capable team out there in terms of resources and capacity, so perhaps we’ll survive a little longer. The one place we do get used is during designated National Security Events, like the DNC, where we are pre-positioned in case something happens. While it would take us up to 24 hours to travel to a random incident, when we’re pre-positioned we can be there within minutes.
Thus I spent a week locked up in a warehouse (and I do mean locked up) just in case something bad happened. Since we were on clock, rather than sitting around all day we crammed in a ton of training. Since I’m just an EMT, and no longer a paramedic, it was nice to go through some of the advanced classes I normally don’t get access to any more. Nice to know I can still pass Advanced Cardiac Life Support; a class I haven’t taken in over 10 years. We covered everything from driving off road vehicles in Level A hazmat suits, to air monitoring, to disaster medicine, to pediatric advanced life support.
Living in a warehouse for a week with 58 other people, spending my 12 hour shifts in training and cleaning bathrooms, was a surprisingly motivating experience. There’s really nothing more motivating than working with a well-oiled team under difficult circumstances. While emergency services doesn’t pay the bills any more, it definitely feeds the soul.
While on deployment I managed to miss the 1 year anniversary of Securosis, L.L.C. It’s hard to believe a full year has passed and I’ll write more on that later. We’ve got some big plans for the coming year, and I’m excited about some of the opportunities in front of us.
But right now it’s time to sign off for a week and enjoy my first real vacation in I can’t remember how long. My wife and I aren’t generally the cruising type, but we figured that’s the best way to see the glaciers on a tight timeline before they all melt. The site and business are in Adrian’s hands as I run off and play with bears and icebergs.
I’ll be checking in on email, but don’t expect a response until I get back unless it’s an emergency. I hope you all have as good a week as I’m expecting, and those of you down south please stay safe with all the storms.