Security Thermometers

In a recent post, Gothamist pointed out with surprise that not only did New York City but also the Metropolitan Transit Authority both had terror "alert levels," independent the scale maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. It seems our own George Washington University has long been in the threat-measurement racket, since September 2002 maintaining a system of Four Levels of alert (from IV - "Normal", to I: "Crisis Response") No reason to worry - the "GW Campus Advisory" page advises us they are at a "Normal" level, although they encourage you to call in any suspicious activity. Much fun has been poked at the meaningless fearmonging on behalf of our newly acquired "homeland," but my favorite is perhaps the Dancing Terror Alert Banana.

In addition, the DC Emergency Management Agency has recently launched a service called "AlertDC":

The system, called AlertDC, will allow officials at the D.C. Emergency Management Agency to select a precise geographic area in the city, when necessary, to deliver emergency instructions by calling residential and business telephones in the area. Officials said the system will be modified in the future to allow cellular telephone numbers to be registered, along with most home and business phone lines that are automatically included in the system.

Residents also may enroll online at www.dc.gov to receive emergency instructions via a text-capable device – such as a cell phone, pager or personal digital assistant (PDA) – or via e-mail.


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