Archive for September 2017

Market-reflective prices in disasters ultimately ensure a better supply of goods. With extreme need arises a Sophie's Choice: (1) empty shelves, or (2) hyper-expensive items. Dr. Perrodin argues that price controls are over-simplified "solutions" to short-term complicated resource acquisition issues and sides with free market supply and demand pricing during short-duration sentinel events such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. ANECDOTES. David begins with a rant about the Equifax data breach and questions why the default status for personal credit isn’t “freeze” versus having to pay to protect one’s credit. He humorously scours iTunes for former Equifax Security Chief Susan Mauldin’s “Greatest Hits”. Yet, despite her Masters degree in music composition, she has yet to rip a set of tunes. (Why would you place someone with this inadequate credential set in charge of Americans most vital personal identification data?) You would think that a company named Staples would be the unrivaled leader of making staples. Not so. Dr. Perrodin shares the failure of his Staples’ stapler and the dismal quality of other products he purchased from the spiraling office supplies store. The introduction transitions by David recapping a peanut-brittle scented bike ride, which arguably could have been the aroma of warm butterscotch. PRICE GOUGING DURING DISASTERS. Numerous laws prevent price increases when supplies become scarce relative to need during times of crisis. The argument is based upon ethics and not upon economics. THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR PRICE GOUGING. Dr. Perrodin centers his show on an article by Corinne Purtill of Quartz. She states, “High prices on essentials during disasters feel, instinctively, like a cruel blow to people already suffering. But economists say that manipulating the market by forcing sellers to cap their prices can cause even bigger problems for disaster victims. As many economists see it, the higher prices on essential goods in the wake of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey are an accurate reflection of the greater cost and risk of supplying the item.” PRICE GOUGING IS SHORT-LIVED. Dr. Perrodin points out that the free market quickly stabilized prices on food, fuel and many essential items following both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. While price gouging may last for weeks, months or years in other areas of the world, such practices only last a few days in disaster-stricken areas in the United States. The Red Cross and National Guards scale up quickly and bring in core items to impacted regions. Ultimately, Dr. Perrodin sides with the case for price gouging during a disaster event with the exception of medications. FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: 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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Victims of hurricanes turned to Twitter and Facebook for help as floodwater rose and winds toppled structures. A combination of government and civilian rescuers answered their calls! 2017 is the demarcation line as we are officially in the social media age of natural disaster response. This new era has introduced both efficiencies and complexities to rescue operations practices. SPAGHETTI MODELS WERE SLOPPY & CONFUSING. Spaghetti models resemble a blob of noodle strands. The strands represent different outcomes, or paths, of storm systems based upon tweaking of variables. The models are similar to the weatherperson saying, “Tomorrow’s high will be between 70 and 80”. These predictions fail to take into account the countless numbers of variables impacting this open system of weather and also are unable to determine the impact that one variable has upon another. Hence, such modeling delays reactions by officials and the public as they typically “see” the pattern they desire to see in the spaghetti “tea leaves”. FEMA WAS BETTER THAN DURING HARVEY. Hands down, FEMA head Brock Long was all over preparation for this hurricane. In concert, Florida Governor Rick Scott was decisive and evacuating over a million people on aging, narrow ocean-side Interstates was not an easy feat. USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO REQUEST HELP. It was evident with Hurricane Harvey that people would seek information via social media and also post to social media to seek help when 911 or other call centers were overwhelmed. I credit the government for asking people to first call 911, but acknowledging that people were probably going to use Twitter and Facebook. These sites were monitored by volunteers not affiliated with government and there seemed to be a rather workable merging of self-dispatched rescuers and government rescuers. However, the evacuation was not a repeat of the significant “Cajun Navy” response during Hurricane Harvey. This was most likely due to inability to enter Florida and perhaps better staging of resources, although the latter is speculation. Dr. Perrodin explains that FEMA and government systems much evolve to interface with social media-based rescues. He also challenges some claims, such as not posting a photo of one’s location as such information is already available to the public via Google maps. Storm surge, the gradual failure of communications, “above sea level”, and potential energy converted to kinetic storm energy are all discussed in this rhetoric-free presentation by Dr. Perrodin. FOLLOW. DR. PERRODIN: On Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to “The Safety Doc” YouTube channel & SoundCloud RSS feed. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: 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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An abysmal government response to Hurricane Harvey exposed inadequate planning, lack of resources and confusing attempts at invoking incident command that iced potential responders such as commercial drone operators. Rescue efforts defaulted to heroic, overwhelmed local crews bolstered by the truly remarkable "Cajun Navy". In substantial form, social media played a key role for those attempting to contact responders. This show describes the nuances of the Hurricane Harvey landfall and offers precise protocols to improve future responses to natural disasters. DECISION TO NOT EVACUATE HOUSTON. The decision to not evacuate Houston was correct and will be the standard decision moving forward for sentinel events. Infrastructure would not support a timely evacuation. Had Houston ordered an evacuation, hundreds, if not thousands, of people would have perished in their vehicles. This has become the standard (unwritten) protocol for all major cities across the world. FOUR REASONS PEOPLE WON’T LEAVE THEIR HOMES. People have become desensitized to disasters. They have re-calibrated to a higher threshold “normal” torus. These are reasons why people ignore evacuation warnings (1) People are more likely to under-estimate importance of warning of event assuming that it won’t be as severe as predicted and will pattern to previous storms that weren’t “that bad”. (2) The duration of the event will be short. (3) No experience with interruption of resource supplies - can’t conceive this - no fuel, water, food, so on. (4) Assume government will intervene if situation does place one in imminent risk of harm. THE FEMA FUMBLE – MOBILIZING TOO FEW TOO LATE. A little leadership will go a long way. On August 30th, 24,000 National Guard troops were activated. This was 5 days too late. The initial rescue efforts were disjointed between agencies and residents were inundated with multiple phone numbers or websites to visit. HERE COMES THE CAJUN NAVY! The “Cajun Navy” formed 12 years ago following the 2005 Katrina hurricane in which a grassroots citizen group loosely assembled with boats, pickups and supplies to conduct house-to-house rescues. It operates with a “quiet” endorsement from politicians and open endorsement from the public. The CN responded, at no cost, to the greater Houston area with boats, trucks, water, food and personnel of various skillsets from farmer to meteorologist. Per its motto, “We don’t wait for help – we are the help”. They also took advantage of the latest technology - an app called Zello Walkie Talkie along with Facebook. DO NOT REGULATE THE CAJUN NAVY. Various bills have aimed to place restrictions on the self-dispatched CN in the form of mandated training and licensing. This is bad politics. The CN embodies spontaneous organization of people with tacit knowledge, patriotism, and compassion rallying to form a system that exists long enough to carry out rudimentary rescue efforts. The CAJUN NAVY exists to fill the void created by foot-dragging FEMA. Listen to the show for David’s recommendations on how FEMA can re-shape its role in sentinel event response to one of efficiently coordinating resources through a single 21st century technological incident command system. Dr. Perrodin’s contacts in Texas helped inform content for this show. 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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