Alert & Warning Center ~ Ever Wondered?

I’ve mentioned before that I had the honor of serving as a State Emergency Operations Officer from 2010 – 2012. Below is a picture with two of my fellow SEOOs, both very good men and officers. As you will see, the two men are surrounded by a bevy of phones, screens (each officer monitors six computer screens) and 38 different communications and computers systems.

Working out of the state’s 24/7 Alert & Warning Center at Camp Murray, Wash., Earl Dickey (left) and Jim Kadrmas keep the home fires burning in 2014. They are two of the state’s ten State Emergency Operations Officers, or SEOOs, who handled 4,803 missions last year. See story “Alert & Warning Center busy in 2013.”

These are the people who help protect you when a disaster or an emergency strikes. You won’t see them, you rarely will hear about them, but they are there 24/7/365 days and they care very much about you.

24 thoughts on “Alert & Warning Center ~ Ever Wondered?

  1. Hunt, I would have loved to have watched you, when you manned one of those chairs. I am sure you were one damn fine SEOO, I can almost see you racing around the center on roller blades or something LOL. The job you did, and that Earl and Jim do now is an extremely important job that for the most part goes unnoticed, and being a state job is probably grossly underpaid for the responsibilities placed on their shoulders. And like so many other jobs it really only gets noticed with the shit hits the fan. Thank you and Earl and Jim’s efforts and energy and for your service to the State of Washington,

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      • and the environment, as well. This is Washington state, after all, Bill. 🙂 You’re right re responsibility and lousy pay – it was extraordinary coming from the private sector. In addition, we are recorded at all times, so if there is any complaint, they pull the tapes first before asking the officers.

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    • Truly, Col. We could hit one alarm and launch an evacuation of an entire sector that covered miles in the event of a lahar (mud flow from a volcano). In the event of a truly bad earthquake, we might be the only “government” still operating.

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  2. Oh, I have nothing but admiration for this sort of work. I had a very small glimpse when I volunteered for city hall, and I admire that you got to be a part of this work for a few years.

    Actually, I talked to a SEOO briefly recently– apparently, it was the day my son learned about 911 at school. He heard me crying out in pain and dialed the number… so yes, I can very much agree these workers care about people. But still, I was very apologetic and tried to make the call as short as I could so she (it sounded to be a woman that I could tell) could get back to real emergencies.

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    • Ah, Jak, you are lucky in your son. If he dialed 911, then he didn’t reach an SEOO. That is the state level and 911 is local level. I think what the 911 operators do is marvelous and takes an enormous capacity to handle stress and split between listening and keeping the caller going and sending response. Good boy, your son. 🙂

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      • Oh derp… I’m definitely not paying attention– I totally glossed over any mention of “state”. I still think your service is impressive.

        In the long run, yes, I think my son did the right thing and demonstrated very well what he was taught. I think I remember telling the operator that I was lying down and that I’d be okay…. it took a few seconds for me to realize that he’d called for my sake. And while I was momentarily embarrassed about the idea of taking away time from a real emergency, I think it definitely was much worthier than the news about the guy that called 911 because a deli got his sandwich order wrong. At least I was in real physical pain.

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  3. Thank you to these two guys you highlighted! As a volunteer dispatcher for a fire department in a small town in NW Ont, I remember how seriously I took my position even though I wasn’t paid.

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  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone | the tao of jaklumen

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