How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

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Murph
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How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by Murph » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:27 pm

How To Survive A Disaster
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 15,00.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here's some of the most interesting parts in my opinion:
When disaster strikes, a troubling human response can inflate the death toll: people freeze up. They shut down, becoming suddenly limp and still. That's what happened to some people on Sept. 28, 1994, when the M.V. Estonia went down in the Baltic Sea, the worst sea disaster in modern European history.
Contrary to popular expectations, this is what happens in many disasters. Crowds generally become quiet and docile. Panic is rare. The bigger problem is that people do too little, too slowly. They sometimes shut down completely, falling into a stupor.
Fire drills, particularly if they are mandatory and unexpected, can dramatically reduce fear, should the worst come to pass. Just knowing where the stairs are gives your brain an advantage. Likewise, research into plane crashes has found that people who read the safety briefing cards are more likely to survive. These rituals that we consider an utter waste of time actually give our brains blueprints in the unlikely event that we need them.
And what of the guests? Most remained guests to the end. Some even continued celebrating, in defiance of the smoke seeping into the rooms. One man ordered a rum and Coke to go. When the first reporter arrived at the fire, he saw guests sipping their cocktails in the driveway, laughing about whether they would get to leave without paying their bills.
...and it goes on... I'm surprised at the lack of chaos for the cited examples in this article. Maybe TEOTWAWKI will be quieter then we expect?
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by Erik » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:15 pm

I think it depends how TEOTWAWKI comes on.

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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by phil_in_cs » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:24 pm

Erik wrote:I think it depends how TEOTWAWKI comes on.
I agree. If it happens suddenly, many people will freeze up like the article says. But if there's warning, the media will inflame panic. Witness the Great Houston Bug Out for Hurricane Rita, where under a half million were told to evacuate and more than two million did.
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by wanderingwaldo » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:45 pm

people...

Fear is the little death until it becomes the big death.
Mere placation of the ordinary prevents one from becoming extra-ordinary.

The world is an onion made of spiderwebs.

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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by Aeon » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:53 pm

Like the previous posters have said, it depends on what causes the incident. If its a fire I dont see people looting, riots etc, but if its a case of ....ZOMBIES! then I think its safe to say that people running from their dearly departed hungry loved ones will be more concerned with the aformentioned locomotion than looting and rioting. That being said people will either no nothing or do everything in extremes if chaos at that level were experienced. However, Ive never been in any of the cited situations so I can only hypothesise.

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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by BeerandGuns » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:14 pm

Good article, just finished reading it. I'd be curious to know how many people sat outside the Convention Center in New Orleans waiting for someone, anyone to come tell them what to do or save them. Take out the old and young and you are still looking at a very large group of people. Perfectly healthy and able to walk who did nothing but sit there.
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by The Commander » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:28 pm

MAN, it's like peeps are gonna freeze up like The Happening :!: :lol:
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by Maxxtactix » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:42 pm

That was a good read. Thank you. What a moving story about the trade center. I had heard of Rescorla but never really gotten the details of how he trained so many and actually instructed them to ignore the Port Authority directives. I can only imagine the bigshot businessmen getting so irritated with the drills that ultimately saved their lives.
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by Pansy » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:20 pm

Wow, Great Read! A lot of good information there. Rick Rescorla is a genuine hero. A lot of other heroes made on that day as well!

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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by B3 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:33 pm

Thanks for sharing that article. Rick Rescorla's actions were truly inspiring.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.--Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)


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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by LittleTeapot » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:06 am

Murph, thanks very much for posting that article. I'm referencing it in the ZS Wiki!
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by razi » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:55 pm

We can also help each other do better. A loud sound will cause animals to snap out of their stupor. Likewise, many flight attendants are now trained to scream at passengers in burning planes, "Get out! Get out! Go!" People respond well to leadership in a disaster, and then they can do remarkable things.
This is probably the most relevant bit of info for us as the ones who know what to do- don't be silent. Lead people to safety!
An estimated 60% of the employees tried to help in some way--either by directing guests to safety or fighting the fire. By comparison, only 17% of the guests helped. But even among the guests, identity shaped behavior. The doctors who had been dining at the club acted as doctors, administering cpr and dressing wounds like battlefield medics. Nurses did the same thing. There was even one hospital administrator there who--naturally--began to organize the doctors and nurses.
another important bit of information.

Rest in Peace, Rick. You earned it 2,687 times over at least.
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Re: How To Survive A Disaster - TIME

Post by rpc » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:06 pm

This is probably the most relevant bit of info for us as the ones who know what to do- don't be silent. Lead people to safety!
Several years ago, I was working in a basement office, which just happened to be in a building housing all kinds of toxic chemicals.

One day, the power went out. It turned out to be just a hapless squirrell, but we didn't know that at the time. I had a flashlight in my briefcase (even though it was a cheap one from the dollar store with weak batteries, it later caused me to be branded as a crackpot survivalist by some of my cow-orkers). We were in a windowless basement office, so we were in utter darkness. I got out my little flashlight, and a few of my cow-orkers got out their cel phones, which gave off a little light.

Everyone was more than content to simply mill about, pondering the causes of the lights going out. But when I simply said, "I think we should evacuate the building", everyone seemed to agree that it was a good idea, and they all followed my little flashlight outside.

I suspect that part of the problem is that people might be embarassed if they take action that, in retrospect, is not necessary. So if you see a little bit of smoke, they might think it's just an itsy-bitsy fire, and they would be perceived as overreacting to go outside. In our case, it really was just a mundane power outage, and everyone reacted as though it was a mundane event.

But even though nobody took any action independently, they were quite willing to follow the directions that were offered by me. And perhaps my little AA cell flashlight from the dollar store gave me some credibility. If their action had turned out to be an embarassing over-reaction, they could have blamed it on me (as they did, to some extent, by assuming that I was a survivalist nutcase because I had a cheap flashlight in my briefcase.)

The next day, we were issued an official flashlight by the company.

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