Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What the Red Cross is preparing for

Um ... don't panic

THIS IS A DRILL. THIS IS NOT A REAL EVENT.

The message below is part of an ARCGNY drill to assess the availability of our volunteer base to respond to an event with similar conditions and timing. Please give your availability as if you were now being asked to respond to this event, taking into consideration your real-life schedule and commitments; however, nothing beyond you’re email response is required for this simulation. The data collected from this request will be used in a tabletop drill tomorrow.

*** DRILL STAFFING REQUEST***

An incident has just occurred at Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan , NY . Over the next several hours and the days to follow the American Red Cross in Greater New York may be called upon to assist in any necessary evacuations of the areas surrounding this nuclear facility with the establishment of shelters in our northern counties. At this time we are asking disaster volunteers of all areas of training to submit their availability and standby for more information.

Transportation will be available from 520 W 49th Street leaving/returning at the following times: 6am-6pm, 2pm-2am, 10pm-10am.

For volunteers able to stay in the northern counties for several days, lodging will be provided.

Please let us know the following:

  • Name:
  • Phone number:
  • Area(s) of training:
  • Are you able to stay for several days?
  • Dates/Times available:

REMEMBER: THIS IS ONLY AN EXERCISE; NO STAFF IS ACTUALLY BEING MOBILIZED.

Thank you for your participation.

The Staffing Team


2 comments:

Nephos said...

So how much does the Red Cross facilitate damage by ordering evacuation when none may be necessary? Do they base reaction orders on real risks or do they also factor in people's perceptions of risk? Should they factor in people's perceptions, or by doing so can they make disasters worse than they really are? I'm thinking of a dirty bomb, where the damage is mostly psychological, albeit real in an economic sense.

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

Quite a bit of damage (primarily due to looting) -- and certainly economic loss -- is caused by the Red Cross calling unnecessary evacuations. But, the trouble is, you only know they were unnecessary in retrospect.

I don't order the evacuations, but the Red Cross seems fantastically insensitive to people's perception of risk. Their actions may seem capricious and overblown at times, but that's almost entirely due to internal processes. The Red Cross knows it has an internal process problem, and is (very publicly) dedicating itself to reforming them.

All of which is to say, it doesn't seem to care how people evaluate the risks they face. If the Red Cross thought there could be a radiological incident like a dirty bomb, I'm pretty sure it would evacuate the whole area at a much lower risk level than a holistic thinker -- who would be more willing to risk mass deaths than unfairly besmirch the reputation of a district -- would.