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Volume 27, Issue 4

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Alert and Performing Well at 3 a.m., How to Maintain Response Readiness: 24 Hours a Day

Written by  Ed Coburn Monday, 19 November 2007 23:12

In the world of "99% boredom, 1% terror" jobs, disaster recovery is pretty high on the list. You never know when it's going to hit but you have to be ready when it does. It's a challenge at any time but it's all the more difficult in the middle of the night, when alertness falls and performance and judgment suffer. For example, one night a couple of years ago, an experienced control room operator at a paper mill was suddenly aware of a flashing red light indicating a snag on one of the factory's two machines. He reached up and hit the emergency kill switch shutting down one of the machines. It was the wrong machine however. After a few minutes he realized the mistake and shut down the correct one. The delay caused damage to the malfunctioning unit and turning off the properly functioning unit meant several days of completely