This Sunday (10 Oct 2010), I'll be volunteering at Burning Man's "Decompression" street faire in San Francisco with the Emergency Services Department (ESD). If you're at Decompression, stop by and say hi; I should be at the ESD/Medical booth most of the time, particularly from 6pm to midnight (I'll be on duty, but I don't expect to be too busy to chat). If you want to get a taste of Burning Man, and you're in the Bay Area, come to Decompression!
Although I'm mostly known professionally for my work in networking, automation, firewalls, and IT infrastructure, I also have a strong interest in emergency services. Many of my networking colleagues aren't aware of it, but I've got nearly two decades of volunteer experience in air search and rescue (with Civil Air Patrol, as everything from a search pilot through an incident commander) and community disaster preparedness (with Community Emergency Response Teams in Mountain View, San Francisco, and Alameda, California, as both a team member and an instructor).
My most recent emergency services volunteer work has been with Burning Man's Emergency Services Department. This year at Burning Man, I worked as a 911 dispatcher. We dispatch medical, fire, and mental health responses for the event's 50,000 participants, as well as coordinate with several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. As dispatchers, the resources at our fingertips included over a dozen pieces of apparatus (fire engines, water tenders, medical quick response vehicles, and various hybrid fire/medical vehicles), two medical aid stations, and several dozen personnel on duty at any given time; through allied agencies, we could also call on a fully-equipped emergency medical clinic, several ambulances, dozens of Black Rock Rangers (Burning Man's non-confrontational community mediators), and dozens of law enforcement personnel.
Occasionally, I've had the opportunity to merge my "professional" and "volunteer" lives, such as when I worked as a disaster relief volunteer designing and deploying free wireless Internet access after Hurricane Katrina, or when I've given my "Incident Command for IT: What We Can Learn from the Fire Department" presentations.