An explosion and/or fire at Shaw Court in Calgary has knocked out a significant quantity of telecommunications equipment, affecting not only bank machines and radio stations, but stuff like 911 service and the program that tells ambulances which hospital they should take a patient to.
Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Jayson Doyscher tells OpenFile: “the sprinklers have been keeping the fires in that room at bay. Just due to the amount of electrical equipment in there, we’re trying to make sure that we can secure it so firefighters aren’t at risk before they go into that room.”
I’m going to repeat the salient bit:
…SPRINKLERS…in that room…ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT…
SPRINKLERS + ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT?!
Normally when you talk about mission-critical infrastructure, you’re talking about stuff like the servers that handle banking and the stock market. And for that kind of thing, the technology exists to have redundant servers in multiple locations that can fail-over almost seamlessly if something like this happens. We don’t have all the details, but chances are some of this stuff is weirdass old mainframes and actual physical mechanical switches that can’t be failed over quite so easily. Still, why in the name of the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster would you put sprinklers in with them? I mean, I know the obvious answer, which is that halon is expensive. But whose brilliant idea was it to cut this particular corner? Maybe it’s just me, but I think 911 service is a bit more important than the stock market.