RE: Bombs in the Workplace

Subject: RE: Bombs in the Workplace
From: "Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes (EAA)" <Sean.O'Donoghue-Hayes -at- ericsson -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 10:50:33 +1000

Hi all,

With regard to the various comments, I think Jane's identifies something
that may have some relevance to the various experiences people have had.

In the case of the coal miners they were NOT to evacuate. They were to stay
where they were. In those companies where it was decided not to evacuate the
staff, there may well be reasons - an uncontrolled or badly controlled
evacuation may well cause as many injuries as it strives to prevent.

With the mention of WTC, it may sound foolish that people were asked to
remain at their desks....yet perhaps that was the procedures they were meant
to follow to ensure an orderly evacuation....thousands of people in panic
clogging the stairwells may well have caused greater harm.

The second tower for example...with hindsight evacuate everyone...but do you
really want to put 20,000 people out into an open area below a burning
skyscraper? Clogging up the area when you are trying to get emergency
services in?

Evacuation is not the only means of dealing with threats. In some cases
staying put can be a solution to....for example...recently in Pakistan some
militants decided to shoot up the international school - the policy of the
school was to lock the doors and sit them out - which worked....if they had
evacuated into the path of the would be a certainty more
lives might have been lost.

The example that Tuples/Bob gave was worrying only because they did not
appear to have an ordered way of meeting the threat....rather than the fact
that no evacuation occurred - though in the situation he gave it would have
seemed the safest course.

just some thoughts - back to those in the bear pit....

regards and thanks,
-----Original Message-----
From: Jane Carnall [mailto:jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, 9 August 2002 2:07 AM
Subject: RE: Bombs in the Workplace

<Human nature in a crisis is not reliable. There needs to be a clear-cut
policy that everyone knows about for people to follow. That way, they don't
have to think. Thinking is not reliable under these circumstances.>

Agreed. It may seem unreasonable to have a rule about leaving the building
immediately without even stopping to pick up your bag, but if you let people
go back for personal items when it's a fire drill, they may try to do the
same when it's a fire. It's why they repeat that boring safety recital on
every flight.

Richard Cohen's column in today's _Washington Post_ makes an interesting
(paraphrased from the article): The Pennsylvania miners survived because
they followed procedure in disaster - seek high ground and not attempt to
escape. Because they followed procedure, Joseph Sbaffoni, division chief of
Pennsylvania's Bureau of Deep Mine Safety, could figure out where they must
be and sink a shaft for the compressed air that kept the miners alive and
safe from rising water until they were rescued.

Apologies for bringing up a tragic event, but I gathered that this was a
problem at the WTC - at least in the south tower. The Port Authority
appeared not to have a clear evacuation policy, and it was reported that
many people were told to stay at their desks. (I have somewhere a forwarded
e-mail from one of the survivors from the south tower - someone in her
office reacted *instantly* the plane hit the north tower, and got everyone
in that office to leave the building immediately. He had not seen what had
happened, but had leapt to the conclusion that it must be have been a bomb -
and thereby almost certainly saved their lives.)

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