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Re: Every incident is an opportunity

  • From: Robert Bonomi
  • Date: Mon Feb 12 05:32:13 2007

> Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 08:05:08 GMT
> From: Brandon Butterworth <[email protected]>
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Re: Every incident is an opportunity 
> > > During the cold war American kids
> > > were trained to hide beneath their desktops in caseof a nuclear
> > > attack. Much good that would have done.
> It could have kept them from running around the streets screaming we're
> all going to die.
> It may well save people if they are on the edge of the survival zone,
> that may not be a good idea but at least they know what to expect
> I don't pretend to know the real reason but keeping control is usually
> better even if you can't change the outcome.

There is a 'relatively small' area around ground-zero where it wouldn't
make any difference what action was taken -- virtually everyone in that
radius would be a 'prompt kill' causalty, regardless.

0utside the 'prompt kill' radius, there is a much larger circle where 
blast/concussion/over-pressure effects are the major cause of _immediate_ 
injury.  _Most_ school-buildings in metro areas were of 'relatively' 
_survivable_ construction.  Although there was likely to be significant 
damage -- flying glass from broken windows, airborne 'projectile' objects, 
possible minor thermal-flash triggered fires, etc. -- the buildings were
not likely to suffer total collapse.

'Tornado safety' precautions -- "get underground, if you can,", and "get 
under something _solid_" -- are effective in minimizing immediate injuries.

Many urban schools simply _did_not_ have basements. So that 'safety hatch'
was not available.

In the event of an imminent nuclear 'event', you just DON'T have any 'good'
options.  Depending on the delivery system, you may have a _maximum_ of
from three (3) to 25 minutes warning.

This isn't enough time to send the kids home.  Assuming home provides
better protection than the school building.  *BIG* assumption.

You don't have a basement to retreat to.

You sure-as-hell don't want the kids gawking out the window, and ending up
looking into the blast -- even from a range that wouldn't break windows.

So, you make the 'best use' of what resources you  _do_ have available.

You cannot do much about preveting/reducing radiation injury. Given the
situational constraints you have to work within.

Blast/concussion/over-pressure is another story.

When that procedure was promulgated, many classrooms had heavy wooden
trestle-type desks.

Getting _under_ them was some of the 'best protection available' against
flying/falling 'foreign objects'.

It is also a matter of experimental fact that having a _plan_ to do 'something'
in event of an emergency -- 'right', 'wrong', or 'worthless' -- *IS* better
than having no plans.  "No plans" degenerates very quicly into 'panic', which
is virtually always the 'worst possible thing'.

'Duck and cover' may not have appreciably incresed survival odds for those
relatively near ground-zero, but it was (a) "better than nothing", and (b)
about the "best that could be done", given the real-world constraints that
did exist.

BTW, I was in school (elementary/seconndary) in those days (1958-71), in a
mid-sized Midwestern city.  We -never- had any of those kind of drills.
Apparently 'the powers that be' concluded that there was nothing in our 
vicinity that would be worth dropping a nuke on.  :)