Archive for July 2017

Probability is key to safety and decision-making. Dr. Perrodin talks about one of the most common mistakes people make with probability and how to avoid it. IN THE FLOW. David shares excerpts from the best-selling book, Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. Flow is the merging of action and awareness and a prelude to understanding probability. Per Csikszentmihaly, “When all of a person’s relevant skills are needed to cope with the challenges of a situation, that person’s attention is completely absorbed by the activity.” Athletes often describe this as “being in the zone”. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS. David explains that being “in the flow” involves situational awareness and while it happens, recall of the time “being in the flow” is inconsistent - and we know that all memory recall degrades rapidly within just an hour of the experience. So, when people are “in the flow” they might not be able to remember events as well. DISCRETION ALLOWS ONE TO BE IN THE FLOW. Discretion, following one’s gut and tacit knowledge allow you to be in the flow. If you are consumed with worrying about scrutiny of your actions or have outside thoughts creeping into your thinking, then you’re not going to be in the flow. Think about it - Sully on the Hudson was in the flow. “The flow” works well with negotiating nonlinear events. SOMETIMES BEING IN THE ZONE ISN’T IDEAL. Dr. Perrodin points out the problem with being in “The Flow” too much is that you might end up “going” with a suboptimal option. For example, people running away from the Twin Towers and you join in with the group. You assume the group has some collective knowledge or a leader is out in front or something and you really don’t need to consider your heuristics - or options. “Being in the zone” and “going with the flow” are often described in pretty linear situations such as a dancer, actor, mountain climber, chess player, etc. PROBABILITY. “You ask, what are the chances of that happening?” That’s a good question as understanding chance is understanding risk. Per Cornell University, the chance of a shooting at any school in American is once in 13,300 years or about .0000004% chance per school day. Probability helps us deal with the unknown. PRIORITIZATION. A school shooting is a sentinel event that we assign much prioritization to it, although the probability is very low. There’s a tricky interface between probabilities and priorities and you can see that this area is strongly influenced by recent events, political influence and bias - what is important to you. PROBABILITY WORKS BEST OVER A LONG SPAN. Probability works well in determining long-term behavior, but it doesn’t work well for predicting outcomes in the short term. Let’s use a simple binary, two-options probability model. This is common and is basically Yes or No. You flip a coin 10 times. What’s the probability that 5 times it will be heads and 5 times it will be tails? You flip a coin 1000 times. What’s the probability that 500 times it will be heads and 500 times it will be tails? Each toss is 50-50, but time and trials have a smoothing effect on data. Note that there is no “learning” going on here. Your coin toss technique has no effect on the coin landing heads or tails. FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com

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There are several reasons why each disaster should be studied as an individual unit. By isolating communications and geography specific to time, context and situation, Dr. Perrodin demonstrates the inherent problems with comparing disasters. He also notes the incredible impact of “lived experiences” and longitudinal demographic factors that contributed to the improbable rescue of 500,000 people in only 9 hours from Lower Manhattan on 9/11/01. COLD WAR 1980-1985. David shares an excerpt from his research for his book “Lessons of Lower Manhattan” and delineates the saturating influences of politics, media and pop culture on youth and young adults during the first half of the 1980s. This was a time when Americans were inundated with messages that the Soviet Union presented a serious threat to the well-being of every American. COMMUNICATIONS & GROWTH OF INTERNET. Bill Clinton said, “When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the World Wide Web... Now even my cat has its own page.” At the time of the Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, a mere 16 Million People (.4%) in The World Used the Internet. At the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, that number had risen sharply to 513 million people (9%). As of March, 2017, the Internet is accessed by 3.74 billion people (50% of the world). This is amazing when you consider that more than a billion people do not have access to electricity! Media updates about the 9/11/01 attacks were timely, and available, online. Although people didn’t have “smart” devices, they could send and receive information via texts. Substantially more information is available today and communication systems are very robust even when confronted with hurricanes. AFTER ACTION REVIEW. The AAR was developed in the 1970s by the military to study disaster response. The method lacks a standard template and often results in benchmarking against other disasters / responses. It also tends to skew toward assigning blame versus understanding the response – both the attributes that contributed to successful outcomes and barriers that militated against successful outcomes. Is there really a no fault analysis of a disaster? GEOGRAPHY. WTC was on an island. Murrah was not an island. This is a monumental difference that would be pervasive across all response efforts! People in OKC were not wondering how they would get to a safe area. People in WTC had nowhere to go other than the harbor. Florida hurricane evacuations are limited by the capacity of Interstate 4 and even with a few days warning, the infrastructure is quickly strained. Also, when people have already lived through a hurricane by “hunkering down” they are less likely to evacuate. Wildland fires - people disoriented as exit routes can change / can have hills. Dam failures - upstream or downstream? Do escape routes cross downstream rivers? FUKUSHIMA (2011). Japan’s population dense metro regions do not have grid-like city planning innate to cities in the United States. It’s hard to find your way around during a disaster. A Google engineer used his smart device and Google Maps to navigate fractured roads in order to return to his wife and child. FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com

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Moral dilemmas center ethical choices in rescue operations in which the grueling decision is between, at times, equally-deserving alternatives. Dr. Perrodin also analyzes a safety response article comparing the actions of rescuers present at the Murrah Building and rescuers present at the World Trade Center - noting such comparisons hold great challenges to distilling information that can be generalized to other settings. SOPHIE’S CHOICE. Sophie’s Choice is the title of a 1979 novel by William Styron, about a Polish woman in a Nazi concentration camp who is forced to decide which of her two children will live and which will die. The phrase “Sophie’s Choice” has become shorthand for a terrible choice between two equally deserving alternatives difficult options. THE OVERCROWDED LIFEBOAT. Victor Grassian provided this example of a moral dilemma in his book Moral Reasoning. In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain's decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. The moral principle involved with the deaths is a simple Utilitarian one: because of the decision, fewer people die later. If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided? 9/11 JOURNAL OF CONTINGENCIES & CRISIS MANAGEMENT. Cognitive Correlates of Improvised Behavior in Disaster Response: the Cases of the Murrah Building and the World Trade Center by Mendonca, Webb, Butts & Brooks (2014). Dr. Perrodin analyzes this study that compares improvised behavior in disaster response between the Murrah Building (OKC) and the World Trade Center (NYC). The study is built upon sound methodology and conducted by impeccable experts. Yet, it is an example of how research in this vein becomes patterned and ultimately struggles to offer fresh recommendations. Dr. Perrodin suggests that crisis events should be deeply examined as units with special attention to demographics, local, national and international contexts and identify how technology, or (soon) artificial intelligence & robots interfaced with rescue operations. The authors state that it is difficult to compare results within or across organizations over time or across events. David reasons that the two events should not be compared due to vastly different contexts and situations. Manhattan, for example, is an island. DEFCON 3. The United States military went to DEFCON 3 following the attacks of 9/11/01? The DEFense readiness CONdition (DEFCON) system prescribes five graduated levels of readiness (or states of alert) for the U.S. Military. The DEFCON level did not change after the Murrah bombing as it was deemed a localized event that was not going to escalate to a national, or international, safety event. FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com

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Would religion have a purpose if there was no human death? Is there a point when a perpetual Ground Hog Day would siphon one’s sense of control over being & environment, hence eroding agency & purpose? CO-SHOW: Nerdy By Nature podcaster Elijah joined Safety Doc host David to explore similarities in societies that have spanned history books for thousands of years. The duo compared ancient practices to what happens today. As well, they speculated into what would happen with the introduction of artificial intelligence, singularity, & perpetual life. THOUGHT-PROVOKING IDEAS CHALLENGING CURRENT THOUGHT: Wages, Work Day Length, World War & Influence of Charismatic Leaders & Society Co-existing. Elijah notes Sweden’s move toward a decreased work day & decreased school day, a model that could be emulated by other countries as automation thins available jobs. QIN DYNASTY. You might be aware of the discovery of the massive buried Terra Cotta Army in China. This army of more than 6,000 life-sized warriors and weapons was created per Qin’s fear of being vulnerable in the after-life. Emperor Qin ran his dynasty with absolute control. Qin developed a spy system, so that all people kept an eye on each other. Spies were rewarded very well. Big brothers? THE TORUS. Thinking of the torus as a donut, most of our days and experiences are similar if we imagined such as traveling within the donut from a start point to return to that point. As the torus helps us manage being inundated with environmental cues, it equally makes us susceptible to convincing ourselves that abnormal events are normal. It was a reason why people in the Twin Towers didn’t react much until 4 minutes following the impact of the first plane. TRANSFERENCE. How are high-stakes decisions made and what is the role of personal bias and discretion? How about “Positive Transference” throughout history & across cultures - in other words, cultures that had very high levels of subordinates being bound to the leader - possibly even to the obvious peril of the subordinates? This was obvious with Hitler and the thousands of young Germans that idolized him as a father figure. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Skynet, HAL 9000, and iRobot are examples of movies exposing that AI can be used to benefit mankind, control it, or destroy it. Also, with emerging borderless economies such as Fiverr.com, a global online marketplace offering tasks & services beginning at $5 per job performed, how do we maintain “livable” wages when independent contractors are underselling existing wage floors? UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME. What is the impact of a UBI allowance for all citizens? It would liberate time - people could, in theory, work 10 hours a week. Or, it would be devastating to people who laminated their identity to their job titles as they wouldn’t realize sense of agency and purpose through work. Robert Reich, Former Labor Secretary in USA under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. “Mark my words: A Universal Basic Income is coming, as artificial intelligence and robots eat away good jobs.” Will it be that Millennials more easily make a transition to a UBI society as they, in general, seem less laminated to job titles, possessions and status? FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments & emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com Learn about Nerdy By Nature at letusgetnerdy.com

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A WWII field psychiatrist found that infantry soldiers in the 5th Army survived a maximum of 238 aggregate combat days (ACD) before a fate of (1) physical casualty, (2) prisoner of war, or (3) psychiatric casualty. For the first time, it was realized that every soldier had a “finite voltage” and sooner or later would break – even if they appeared to have held up magnificently under incredible stress. This understanding demarked a sharp change in thinking that previously held that soldiers that “broke” under pressure did so only due to some psychological flaw. CHANGING PTSD to PTSI. In order to bring greater awareness to the issue of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. President George W. Bush in 2014 championed a campaign to change how we think about PTSD. In a very moving discussion on Good Morning America, he stated, “We're getting rid of the D," he said. "PTS is an injury; it's not a disorder. The problem is when you call it a disorder, [veterans] don't think they can be treated.” This is part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative. PSYCHIATRIC COLLAPSE VIEWED AS INTRA-SOLDIER FLAW DURING & BEFORE WWII. A soldier’s mental health was viewed much differently 75 years ago. An important lesson that came out of military psychiatry in WWII. In that war, looking at psychiatric collapse of individuals primarily along the Western front, the conventional view was that there was something wrong with them before they even showed up in the Army and that a healthy individual could endure combat essentially indefinitely and then people referred to “Shell Shock”, what was later called “Combat Fatigue.” Doctors were saying it’s a manifestation of a pre-existing condition in a military context. WHY WE FIGHT VIDEOS & MOTIVATION PROGANDA. The belief was that a “weakling” soldier (who hadn’t been screened out) perhaps just needed more motivation. Dr. Appel, military psychiatrist, shared wrote that as psychiatric liaison to the Information & Education (I&E) Division, he took on my first project helping make movies in a series entitled Why We Fight, to be shown to recruits. (You can view these unsettling Frank Capra videos on YouTube - each are 40-50 minutes in length). Appel recalls discussing id, superego, and ego with the experts making the films: a Harvard professor of sociology, a professor of psychology from Yale--and Ted Geisel, or "Dr. Seuss." THE ONE QUESTION THAT WAS AN EXCELLENT PREDICTOR OF A SOLDIER’S BATTLE ENDURANCE. Later studies determined that that single question, asked at induction, "Do you want to be in the service?" predicted actual emotional breakdown better than any other. Negative responses heralded subsequent mental disorder. WHAT HELPED? Surprisingly, extra pay to combat soldiers didn’t make a difference. Steps that made a difference included setting a completed Tour of Duty at 180 ACD and providing line infantry soldiers with special blue arm patches. Such measures boosted morale & decreased psychiatric collapse. SUMMARY. Per Appel, from a medical viewpoint, the most exciting event had been that discovery that every man has a breaking point. This had not been known previously to psychiatry or to anyone. FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. DR. PERRODIN'S SAFETY BLOG: crisisprepconsulting.wordpress.com SAFETY DOC WEBSITE: www.safetyphd.com David will respond to discussion thread comments or questions & also to emails. The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests and do not reflect positions of The 405 Media or supporters of “The Safety Doc Podcast”. The show is curse free & adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. Email David: thesafetydoc@gmail.com

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