Deciphering an Outage
Recently, there was a major fire outage reported. The building maintenance team informed the fire brigade department. The fire brigade came in, helped douse the fire and tried to salvage whatever they could. The owner of the building demanded an independent assessment of the reasons behind the fire, what triggered it and how to make sure this does not happen again. The building maintenance team called in an independent assessment team and asked them to comb the carnage and find out what might have caused this!

The independent assessment team went through the motions of accumulating the evidence, looking for telltale signs of what might have gone wrong and then eventually did an event reconstruction on how events would have unfolded on that day. Subsequently, the team came out with the recommendations that need to be implemented to make sure that such an outage does not happen again.

Typical reasons for most of fire outages are –not conducting regular fire safety drills, violation of the building codes, not designing the fire exit paths, not keeping common area’s clean, storing hazards materials in the basement and building unauthorized extensions. This was the same case here and the recommendations were mostly in same line. Do regular fire safety drills, design fire exit paths, adhere to the building codes, demolish unauthorized extensions, stop storing hazards materials in the basement.

Can you guess the reasons for?

  • why the building was built in violation of so many norms
  • how did all the inspectors certified the building
  • why did the client not got an independent assessment of the building done before possession
  • why did the maintenance team accepted the building without looking into the cost of maintenance in the absence of basic safety
  • why should the people using the building not lose confidence in the safety of the building

The above scenario is analogous to what I encountered recently. Only difference is that it was a customer facing web application that faced the outage.