Archive | March, 2011

OPSEC, Officer Safety, & Me

31 Mar

Sometimes people are amazed by the information I obtain and post on twitter and Facebook. Occasionally people approach me with concerns, usually along the lines of “you could put people in danger” or “that type of stuff isn’t meant to be heard”. Occasionally, I am also struck by the irony that at my day job, and jobs I’ve held in the past, I’m extremely OPSEC (Operational Security) minded, but in social media, I post so much information. I thought I’d take a second to explain my own personal guidelines and the “rules” I use.

Firstly, OPSEC is the responsibility of whatever organization controls the information. If I┬áinadvertently released harmful operational information, the proper question isn’t “why did I share that info?”, it’s “how did that info get out to begin with?”. With that being said, safety of first responders is an enormous priority for me.

Most of my information comes directly from the police scanner. I am constantly monitoring state, local, & federal law enforcement, area fire departments, EMS, airports/aviation, ┬ánews media, etc. If you’ve never listened to a police scanner, trust me when I say that you would be amazed at the amount and content of the information that is available.

The next largest chunk of info comes from reliable sources on twitter and Facebook…I’m by no means the only person doing what I’m doing, and there are a lot of others doing really good work.

Very rarely, friends of mine who are police, firefighters, EMT’s, or emergency management will provide me with some “off the record” information.

Once I hear something good, here are some of the general rules I follow:

1) I never post about police incidents until the police are on scene. This is so that the criminals can’t monitor my twitter feed and know when to flee (as unlikely as this would be). On a practical side, the initial call is often inaccurate or wildly different then what is actually going on.

2) I don’t post about active surveillance operations. In my daily note blog posts I note that it’s happening, but I’ll only include the agency and a vague location. I would never post target descriptions, street addresses, etc.

3) I don’t post the names of victims or first responders, for privacy reasons. The only exception to this would be the chief’s name at a fire, as in “5th alarm by order of chief Smith”.

4) I don’t post alerts about operations that would be considered anti-terrorism, homeland security, national security, etc. The best example of this would be the weekly LNG tanker escorts in and out of Boston harbor, and the massive security operation that surrounds it.

5) I don’t post the addresses of SWAT team operations until it is public knowledge. Essentially, once someone else has posted it, then I will.

6) When all else fails, I try and employ as much common sense as I can. I would never knowingly post something that I thought would put someone in danger or hamper a law enforcement operation.

If you think of anything else, or have any questions, please post in the comments below.


Notes from 30 March

31 Mar

09:20 Inbound LNG BW Suez Boston escort operations on MSP SOPS-3.

10:24 Military Air activity on 228.9000MHz.
11:33 Minor fire behind a washer/dryer in the basement at 272 Front St, Manchester NH. MFD knocked down with hand extinguishers.
11:43 US ICE conducting surveillance in Boston on 163.7500 NAC 289.
12:26 US CBP conducting radio checks on 165.2375.
12:30 MEMA East conducting monthly roll call of all communities in the Seabrook Power Plant EPC.

March 30th Early Morning Incidents

30 Mar

01:41 Northampton, MA: Vehicle pursuit on I-91 Northbound. 2 suspects taken into custody in Sunderland on Claybrook Road.

02:23 Boston, MA: Small fire in the rear of 50×150 taxpayer at 1152 Blue Hill Ave.

02:59 Manchester, CT: 2 Alarm fire in a 2 story townhouse at 441 South Main St.

04:09 North Hampton, NH: 3 alarm fire in a barn at 134 Walnut Ave.

04:39 Boston, MA: Technical rescue/confined space rescue at the Charles/MGH MBTA station for a worker who fell 30 feet down a manhole. Extricated around 07:00 and transported to MGH with bilateral leg fractures.

Photo from Boston Fire Twitpic account.

06:03 Medford, MA: 2 alarm fire in a house at 44 Jerome St.

March 29th Early Morning Incidents

29 Mar

01:37 Portland, CT: Working fire in a shed on Ferry Lane with exposure to a house.

05:43 Warwick, RI: 2 alarm fire in a house on Grandview Dr.

Notes from 28 March

29 Mar

11:42 Voice traffic on 234.6000, which is a military air frequency. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

13:50 Voice transmissions on US Secret Service “Tango”. Agent was clearing an address in Boston, and proceeding to another.

Seabrook Power Plant "Unusual Event"

28 Mar

12:03 The Massachussets Emergency Management Agency came up on the MEMA East channel of the MSP trunked system and announced that they had an advisory for towns in the Seabrook Power Plant area. A roll call was conducted of all of the towns, and MEMA then advised that as of 11:43, the Seabrook Power Station was announcing an “unusual event”. They also stated that it was a class or type “HU2”.

12:20 Alex Jones tweeted that an “Unusual events are in process or have occurred which indicate a potential degradation of the level of safety of the plant.” At the same time, Jane Martin posted on the AlertNewEngland facebook page “Looks like HU2 is “An Unusual Event was declared when: HU2: FIRE within the PROTECTED AREA was not extinguished in within 15 minutes of detection OR EXPLOSION within the PROTECTED AREA” and posted a reference link.

12:36 Unconfirmed reports began coming in that there was still an active fire at the plant.

12:38 Steven Bognar of WBZ tweeted that city of Seabrook Firefighters were not called to the fire, indicating that it was handled by the Plant’s internal fire department.

12:55 John Larochelle tweeted that there was a “reported fire in elevator transformer inside complex. No explosion. Situation under control at this time.”

13:07 MEMA came back on the radio and announced that the “unusual event” had been terminated at 12:43.

Notes from 25 March

26 Mar

15:25: MSP conducting mobile surveillance of a target in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston on SOPS-1.

16:02 LNG ship GDF Suez Neptune outbound escort on MSP SOPS-2