Terrorism Status: Orange - High Condition
September 10, 2002 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Terrorism Status: Orange - High Condition Homeland Security has announced that the Terrorism Advisory Status is moving up to Orange. According to the HSO, Orange alerts mean that we should be "preparing to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed workforce, restricting access to essential personnel only." What is your company's policy for the Orange alert? Will you be working from home tomorrow? Better compose that email to HR now...
posted by DragonBoy (45 comments total)
My company once forced employees to stay on the job during a bomb threat....what do you think
posted by hoopyfrood at 10:38 AM on September 10, 2002

Seems like it's only overseas 'symbols of US power' that will be targeted. So that's OK for you, but I'm going nowhere near the US embassy tomorrow.
posted by Summer at 10:39 AM on September 10, 2002

Runaway! Runaway!!!
posted by quirked at 10:39 AM on September 10, 2002

There seems to be a mixed message here. If an orange alert means to restrict access to essential personnel only, why is Ashcroft telling people not to cancel events, to travel normally, and for government employees to all report to work tomorrow? "Take heed, citizens! Go about your normal behavior, but worry more about what might happen as you do."
posted by rcade at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2002

I worked for a small prototype Ford's foundry in University. We managed to negotiate ourselves into being a non-union shop. In return I think they agreed not to move one of the plants to Mexico.

Anyway, the union was preparing to strike in the very new future which wouldn't effect us seeing as we were all non-union employees (even people sweeping the floor) so apparently some union members took it upon themselves to call in a bomb threat. We had a good game of flag football just outside the building while the bomb squad made sure we weren't going to be blown to bacon bits.

The place I work now apparently has no policy, the only reason I knew about the raised alert status was because of the CNN urgent news update email. It's occasionally sent out useful or at least interesting news, mostly it seems that it can't decide whether its a celebrity rag or crime blotter.
posted by substrate at 10:46 AM on September 10, 2002

"New York City has been on high alert since the September 11 attacks."

We have?
Well... damn, that would've been a nice piece of info to know.

As for days off - Working for the hospital here, means we are all in tomorrow... heck, even most of the "rememberence" things that we have going on are for today, and not tomorrow.
posted by niteHawk at 10:46 AM on September 10, 2002

I'm going to come to work, but I'm not going to actually do any work. I'm pretty sure that this isn't what the company has in mind for tomorrow, but I've always sort of paved my own road, if you know what I mean.

What we really need is some free bagels up in this joint. I could get behind some free bagels, even if they were red, white, and blue.
posted by internook at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2002

Funny, CNN and Fox have been on Amber Alert for the last two months; that seems to fit nicely between Yellow and Orange.

(And yes, before I'm flamed, it's a joke on the coverage, not on the events. So there.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2002

"Orange alert" just doesn't have the right degree of scare to it. "Red alert!" is such a well-known phrase that it immediately captures your attention, but the other colors just don't measure up, especially such a - lets face it - patently goofy color.

Knock-knock. Who's there?
Orange. Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say Rumsfield?
posted by yhbc at 10:54 AM on September 10, 2002

so, it that the first time that terror meter moved at all? I was beginning to think it didn't work all (or that it wouldn't change until after a nuke went off in some city...).
posted by stifford at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2002

Truth be told, there isn't anything I do here at work that I couldn't do from home. I can access our mainframe via the internet as well as our in-house e-mail system. The only real difference is that they can't monitor my non-work-related web activities when I'm logged in from home.
posted by TCMITS at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2002

yhbc--you're right--It sounds like a new kool-aid flavor...

I wonder if Bush is still going to do his non-stop anniversary stops all day (DC, PA, NYC)...
posted by amberglow at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2002

Bush should just go fly around over Nebraska for a few hours like he did last year.
posted by TCMITS at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2002

Orange alert? Code magenta?
posted by Shane at 11:01 AM on September 10, 2002

Well, my company forgot to pay the ISP's bill, so now we're all working from home until the office is reconnected. It's not until now I realize that was just a clever ploy to disperse the workforce without spreading panic :)
posted by Triplanetary at 11:03 AM on September 10, 2002

Does anyone else see this as an example of the Al Quaeda spin machine purposefully fuelling the Bush spin machine? I mean, why bother risking life and limb when you can just have one of your captured officials leak some info and produce the same effect?

"Woooooolf, Woooooooolf!!!"
posted by zekinskia at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2002

I have to be here, thank you very much.

On the bright side, our building management is supplying hot cocoa and donuts, and bringing in a live band to help us commemorate this solemn occasion.

Yes, that's correct, a live band. The memo didn't indicate whether there would be dancing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:07 AM on September 10, 2002

zek, i think if anything does happen (god forbid), you can be sure Saddam will be blamed and not Osama.
posted by amberglow at 11:07 AM on September 10, 2002

This is what my company is doing, as per a group email:

Staff and relationships:

Businesses across the country are observing the events of 9/11 in various ways. [Company] will observe 9/11 as follows:

1. There will be no outgoing business calls of any type from any department from 8:00 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. Please do not originate calls from our office.

2. We will record at 5 p.m. today, 9/10, a special message on our phone system: "In honor and memory of September 11, 2001, the offices of [Company] will neither make nor receive business calls from 8:00 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. on September 11. Please leave a message if necessary and your call will be returned."

3. At 9:00 a.m. there will be a brief, voluntary meeting in our office conference room for those employees desiring to participate. The meeting will include an appropriate non-sectarian patriotic reading by the [boss] and two minute period of silence. Your attendance at this meeting is voluntary.

4. After 9:30 a.m., we will resume business as usual, making and receiving business calls. There is the possibility that some may be offended by any business calls on 9/11. If you should find someone who takes offense, the following is the official company response that I am asking you indicate:

"We observed 9/11 this morning by a period of silence from 8:00 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. CDT. We also held a brief memorial in our office. We feel that the refusal to conduct normal business thereafter is to empower our nation's enemies to disrupt our lives and deprive us of our cherished freedoms, so we will actively work the remainder of the day to honor those whose memories we cherish."

posted by chino at 11:14 AM on September 10, 2002

mr_crash_davis: I think you should do some interpretive dance in front of the band. If they stop you or ask what you are doing, just give them a blank look and say "That's what the band is here for, right?"

Back when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, I was working as a temp at AlliedSignal's plant in Toronto. We were told to evacuate the building that day (and sent home) because someone somewhere had called in a bomb threat to the AS headquarters.

The next day, we were forced to lineup outside and get the once-over from a metal detecting device before going back into the building. That's about the extent of "security" I've encountered outside an airport.
posted by grum@work at 11:17 AM on September 10, 2002

"Flee! Flee! quoth the fearful dwarf. This is no place for mortal men!" (Spenser, I think, but I can't google a text. Sorry, bad dwarf-fu today.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2002

"Flush the bombers--get me SAC on the horn. We are at Defcon 1."
posted by mookieproof at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2002

you can be sure Saddam will be blamed and not Osama

Oh, good call. I find it shameful that Al-Jazeera can find tons of Al-Qaeda top dogs, but we can't. Or don't want to.

My company's gonna be business as usual. I'm trying to propose that since we're an ISP, and the Internet pretty much runs itself, that we should all be classified as "non-essential". As a result, we've all been pink-slipped. :-)
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:30 AM on September 10, 2002

Wolf, ooh, a pink slip--with pretty lace edging? tell me more....
: >

(i don't think we want to find the al-quaeda either)
posted by amberglow at 11:34 AM on September 10, 2002

We've been on Lavender Alert: "Just the State's cute way of keeping us in a constant state of anxiety and nervous exhaustion. "
posted by kirkaracha at 11:40 AM on September 10, 2002

I work on Broadway, basically 1 block from the ex-WTC (only been here since June, thankfully, however). I'm hoping to be sent to some day-long deposition tomorrow in Westchester County, where I've moved.

The thing I'm least looking forward to tomorrow is traveling on the subway. NYC's metro just seems so ripe, such an easy target for terrorism. I'm really surprised it hasn't been hit. Even an "amateur hour" attack would get such high media mileage. HOPE I'M WRONG.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:42 AM on September 10, 2002

You're scaring me, Paris.
posted by gsteff at 11:45 AM on September 10, 2002

I find it shameful that Al-Jazeera can find tons of Al-Qaeda top dogs, but we can't. Or don't want to.

I disagree that Al-Jazeera is "finding tons of Al Qaeda top dogs." I find it difficult to believe that its "correspondents" and "journalists" are hitting the pavement searching for such stories. I believe it is more likely that the "top dogs" of Al Qaeda approach Al-Jazeera because they know that the network will send their unfiltered messages out to the world without any serious criticism.
posted by Durwood at 11:46 AM on September 10, 2002

All right Durwood, that's a viable theory. It still doesn't explain why after a year, the military and intelligence forces of America, supposedly the best in everything in the world, haven't cut off the head of the group we label as responsible for the attacks. Sheesh, in the months following the attacks, I felt we had to submit to our daily three minutes hate towards bin Laden. Is he even still America's #1 most wanted man?? Doesn't seem like it. Ask questions about our lack of success in our stated goals, and you'll get rebuffed rudely. Or called a terrorist yourself.

Either we're not as good as we say we are, something I'm sure all Americans would be loath to admit, or we just don't care and would rather spew our vengeance over enemies nations that are easier to find.

Oh, and amberglow, my slip's actually, well, amber in color. Goes better with my own coloration.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:00 PM on September 10, 2002

i'm confident that my company will implement the same overboard (and irritating) security measures that it did when the US Open was going on down the street.

and they'll probably declare every day "Shorts Day." we've had three this month already.
posted by tolkhan at 12:32 PM on September 10, 2002

Durwood: interesting point about the nature of that "network." Do they actually have investigative reporters? A-J sounds more like a PR organ than a journalistic operation.

I used to live in Park Slope Brooklyn, and down the street was a grocery store, apparently owned by a Palestinian, or at least Muslim family. At some point in 2001, their in-store Dish TV, usually tuned to Arab language programming disappeared. Kind of sad.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:44 PM on September 10, 2002

Funny, I don't feel orange ...

My employer, if I had one, would probably institute some ridiculous policy, or something worthwhile, or nothing at all. Of that I am sure.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2002

Forget "Patriot Day." For the next few years, Sept. 11 may, de facto, become Orange Alert day.
posted by gsteff at 12:56 PM on September 10, 2002

I have GOT to stop playing "Global Thermo-Nuclear War".
posted by McBain at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2002

Damn. I'd forgotten all about the "whether" map.
posted by lysdexic at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2002

Orange alert? Heh, it does sound like a Gatorade energy drink, doesn't it?

I would have been astonished if there weren't a slightly higher alert for September 11. That said, al Qaeda seems in past attacks to have been generally unconcerned with anniversary dates.
posted by dhartung at 1:40 PM on September 10, 2002

I work in probably the second most famous building in Texas behind the Alamo, for the county government, in the building where the county commissioners' offices are. I haven't heard a word about anything special. I also take public transport, and can see where ParisP is coming from, especially from an amateur standpoint. I won't be doing anything different tomorrow.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:59 PM on September 10, 2002

"Flush the bombers--get me SAC on the horn. We are at Defcon 1."

As a former Cold Warrior I was always more fond of the phrase "Bears over the pole" meself.
posted by m@ at 3:08 PM on September 10, 2002

I'm not working in Dublin tomorrow, I'm on holidays, heading to the US from London, Heathrow.

San Francisco, here I come!

As for terrorists? Fuck 'em. They don't scare me, never have, never will.
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:45 PM on September 10, 2002

I work in the Sears Tower, and I'm going into work. I know a lot of people who work in my office and are taking tomorrow off. The Chicago Tribune did a great article on the Sears Tower after 9/11. If you don't work in Chicago's loop and you're looking for perspective on life in the Sears Tower, it's a great article to check out.

It's interesting to think of how much has changed. I got really freaked out (as did many of my coworkers) when the Air & Water Show happened about a month ago - we had fighter jets flying very close to our windows - and I'm on the 72nd floor. It's still bizarre to me look out my window and see into the cockpit of an F16...even if it is just for a nanosecond. We haven't had commerical airliners flying near the Tower since 9/11, but before that time, I understand that my coworkers could look out their windows and see the individual seats in airplanes - meaning they flew *that* close.

It really didn't occur to me not to come to work tomorrow - but I understand why a lot of people don't feel comfortable working in the nation's (and the world's) tallest building on 9/11. I guess I figure - if it's my time, it's my time.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:01 PM on September 10, 2002

Can't we all just stay home and watch the Cartoon Network?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:56 PM on September 10, 2002

Orange alert? Heh, it does sound like a Gatorade energy drink, doesn't it?

I would have been astonished if there weren't a slightly higher alert for September 11.

Because Code Red is brought to you by Mountain Dew, of course. Keep Spending America!
posted by briank at 6:15 PM on September 10, 2002

Hmph...last year on September 11, my boss' reaction was *shrug*, "life goes on", and he continued to make sales calls. (He got a bit annoyed when so many places he called were closed, or busy watching the news...we, of course, didn't have TV and were expected to carry on business as usual.) Then again, this is the same guy who had minor skull surgery two years ago, and came straight to the office from the hospital and started making calls. The only time he takes off from work is the week between Christmas and New Year.

I hope to God I never get that hungry for a dollar.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:22 PM on September 10, 2002

Considering that the place where I work didn't close on 9/11 last year, we're even more business as usual this year.

There's going to be a corporate moment of silence at 8:15 AM Eastern, but I am in Minnesota and I work second shift, so my contribution to that will be trying to remember not to snore at 7 o'clock.

Was going to head out to the Mall of America tomorrow, but I kind of forgot what day it was until I watched the news and they were Orange Alerting like mad...I don't feel like having my Hello Kitty purse dumped out in front of me or whatever the heck they're planning on doing, so I think I'll just get the oil changed in the vehicle instead. That is, if the garage isn't closed and all.
posted by Electric Elf at 8:51 PM on September 10, 2002

I don't really understand this color system. If things are Code Red, that means there's a specific threat of terrorism. But a specific threat is much MUCH easier to thwart than a non-specific one (today's code Orange) (although, what does "specific" really mean?). So, basically, either there's no difference between Code Orange and Code Red, or Code Orange is actually more dangerous than Code Red. Does anyone agree with me?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:40 AM on September 11, 2002

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