Also known as Operations or The Ops Room
Ops is the team that keeps the over-all convention running on the day by facilitating the various parts of the convention working together and helping members with queries or issues. Individual departments (such as Registration and Art Show) will run their own particular area, However Ops provides the communications, secure store access, [sometimes] access to programme rooms and their keys and troubleshooting and handles any issues or un0planned activities arising, as well as coordinating Logistics and occasionally responsible for handling Signage.
Ops is not however, Security, Emergency Responders, Fire Marshals, First Aiders, Doormen or a crèche. These roles are out of scope for Ops volunteers.
A typical Ops setup would be Head of Ops [usually a committee member], a number of Ops Managers supported by one or two [depending on size of convention] Ops Room based staff and Roving Ops staff [known as Rovers].
Since 2010 a number of Eastercon Conventions have required Ops volunteers to be aged a minimum of 18 years, given that they sometimes have to deal with and put up with irate members of the convention who can be downright rude and abusive.
Ops Room volunteers are encouraged to participate in the convention whether programme or social activities and to not 'hang out' in the Ops room when not on duty. This is only to stop people spending every single waking hour in Ops and to have downtime and stay 'fresh'.
The convention will have a stock of handheld radios [for a 800-1000 attendee convention plan for 20 radios minimum [with a stock of spare batteries and earpieces]] as well as a base station radio located in Ops. various roles/functions have radios and Ops acts as the facilitator of the convention radio network. also Ops has a number of roving volunteers with radios and they can be tasked via the Ops room to find people or pass messages on.
Common radio nets look like:
Channel 1 Ops, Channel 2 Committee, Channel 3 Tech
Functions/areas requiring radio's: Ops Room, Ops Rover, Tech, Green Room, Arshow, Dealers Room, Programme Ops, Committee Members [specifically Chair, Hotel Liaison, Guest Liaison and DCM]
Volunteers that take on jobs at the con, such as checking badges, carrying supplies, helping to move chairs etc. See Gophers for more detail.
A book that details events of note, things that need to be recorded, what happened to lost property and most especially information for the next Ops Manager.
The log should have columns for time, date, issue or event of note, actions and decisions made and if resolved and who dealt with what etc. Each Day should start on a new page and list who has opened the days log and who closed the log with any outstanding actions or issues.
Head of OpsEdit
Usually a convention committee member [sometimes a staff role reporting to Head of Logistics committee member]. Role is mostly pre convention to plan role and capabilities, size and shape of Ops such as opening times, equipment required, recruiting volunteers, supporting development of code of conduct and in particular weapons policy [weapons means replica, toy and deactivated weapons and items that may be construed as weapons]. During the convention if a committee member act as a 'troubleshooter' and 'henchman' for the Chair of the convention and ensure Ops Managers and Ops staff are looked after, supported and any issues escalated as appropriate.
The person in the room who is in charge of Ops. Usual practice is to open Ops circa 0900 to 0930 in the morning and close at the end of the last programme item or circa 2300 hours each day. Ops Managers report directly to the Duty Committee member [DCM]. Ideally the Ops Manager should not work more than two hours consecutively.
A member of the Ops team, who will have a handheld radio (Wallyphone) who wanders the area of the convention spaces keeping an eye on things and being available to be sent to provide assistance, pass messages or to find someone as necessary. The roving eyes, ears of the Convention.
The principle of KISS: Keep It Simple STUPID! Simple stages
1. Start all radio messages with the proword 'Hello' if you fumble the first word or don't key the push to talk button and the first word is lost it does not matter.
2. Now identify yourself 'Ops', 'Fred' etc - you don't need code words
3. State your message - keep it short, to the point and straight forward or use hard to pronounce words [if you can avoid it]
4. End your message with 'over' if you want a reply or 'Out' if you are not expecting reply.
Don't worry if you forget the above, no one is going to die! keep it simple and don't swear