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Lessons from Baltimore #180753
03/27/2024 06:38 PM
03/27/2024 06:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,812
A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC
ConSigCor Online content OP
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ConSigCor  Online Content OP
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Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,812
A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC
Preparedness Lessons from Baltimore

by JD March 26, 2024

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was struck by the MV Dali (Singapore-Flagged) at 0130 Eastern on 3/26/2024. Casualty numbers are not in yet, and it is certainly a tragedy. We can take away a few lessons from it right now.

Immediately after, almost everyone on the internet became an expert on ship handling, port operations, and bridge construction as conspiracy theories ran amok about what had happened and why. Everyone was quick to educate us on why it was ISIS, the Russians, the Chinese, and even the white supremacists or Jewish space lasers. It was wild. There is some Tactical Wisdom about being quick to jump to conclusions:

He who tells his story first makes people think he is right, until the other comes to test him.

Proverbs 18:17

That’s my first lesson here: It doesn’t matter one bit. That’s right, for you and me, the second and third order effects are more important than the immediate effects or why it happened. We simply have to deal with what happened and it’s impact on our self-sufficiency, regardless of what happened.

Lesson Two: Know how to swim. If you are involved in preparedness and you don’t know how to swim, YOU ARE WRONG. There are classes in every county in the US, get out and learn. You don’t have to be a world-class swimmer, but simply knowing how to tread water until rescued or to swim to shore can save your life. Learn from this. You are about 100 times more likely to fall into a body of water than to get into a firefight.

Next, have some type of seat belt cutter and window breaking device. There are links above (yes, they are affiliate links and I may make a penny or two from them). It’s a good idea if you know you’re going to crash into the water to roll down your windows, but you might not think of it. Having a window punch can help you escape a sinking car. Use the seatbelt cutter rather than wrestling with the release, seconds count. Leave everything behind, your life isn’t worth that nice handbag or your already-dead phone.

This brings us to the next lesson. In any type of mass casualty event in an urban area, the phone system is going to get overloaded and quickly. Have alternate messaging options with your family. Text messages may go through when calls won’t (data bursts use less bandwidth than voice transmissions).

Having a radio could allow you to stay in touch, but you could also monitor the response by listening to VHF Marine Radio. A police scanner can do that for you as well, so that you can stay abreast of what roads are closed and what hospitals may be full of urgent cases for your own planning. Monitoring radio traffic also helps you with controlling the wild theories that come out afterwards. Hearing what the authorities are saying to each other is very different from listening to their prepared statements to the public and it’s a VALUABLE difference.

It’s important that someone always knows your planned routes and planned travel times, even if it’s just a daily commute. The authorities don’t know exactly how many cars went in and they won’t know to look for you in the water unless someone told them you are missing or overdue. Always inform someone of your plans. If it’s a daily commute, someone should still know and they should have the presence of mind to try and check in on you. It would be a tragedy if they just assumed you made it across, and then no one knew to look for you on the bottom of the harbor. If you tried to reach a loved known to cross and didn’t get through, REPORT IT to rescue authorities – don’t just assume they know who to look for or that they will find everyone. They’d rather look and have them turn up safely at work later than to not look and never recover them.

The next lesson is more of a third order effect. Your Area Study should have identified alternate routes for you, but now you need to re-work all your plans. This bridge will be down for months, and maybe years. Identify other routes that you can use. Some might add hours, but you need them. Understand that the nearest bridges on either side are going to have their traffic at least double. You need to factor that into your future planning.

Consider then the long term effects. What comes into the Port of Baltimore (foreign cars and sugar)? Consider the implications to the supply chain. About 50 ships can’t get out, and the other east coast ports will now have to take the overflow, which will slow down logistics and supply chains all over the US. Plan for shortages and longer-than-normal stocking times.

We’d also be remiss to not consider the elephant in the room: What if this is the opening move in a series of infrastructure attacks? While that is highly unlikely, it’s not out of the question. Until proven otherwise, you should elevate your risk level and pay a little more attention until we get a definitive answer. With world tensions where they are, we have to be prudent.

The prudent see danger and hide;
but the simple go on, and suffer for it.

Proverbs 22:3

Learn from this incident and update your plans.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Lessons from Baltimore [Re: ConSigCor] #180756
03/27/2024 09:00 PM
03/27/2024 09:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,032
Tulsa
airforce Online content
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airforce  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,032
Tulsa
Honestly, whenever I'm driving or walking across a bridge, I very seldom think about the bridge collapsing, but I'm pretty sure I know what to do if it did. Whether that would be enough for me to survive is another question.

Onward and upward,
airforce


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