At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Discuss those "what if" or "what would you do" scenarios you've been wondering about.

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SiameseUrbanite
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At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by SiameseUrbanite » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:06 am

Inspired by the You're at Work. Things Go Bad. What would you do?, I thought I would give you guys the following scenario, adapted for our capital city:

Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Time of Day: Friday Night
Conditions: Flash floods


Scenario

You are working in an office tower on the busy Sukhumvit Road, a major business and commercial district of Thailand. It's the middle of rainy season, and today there has been yet another downpour. The city's infrastructure reached capacity weeks ago, and today's severe storms and flooding have caused traffic to come to a stand still across the city. People are either trapped on buses & other vehicles, or they have decided to abandon their cars right in the middle of the street. Motorcycles can also be seen abandoned most everywhere.

This morning, there were large puddles or some shall pools (up to your ankles). Water is now up to your knees (or up to your waist in some parts of the city). You need to get home to your family. You only have whatever you have on you now (or what you would ordinarily stock at your office).

Your condo is on the opposite side of the city, and you can't drive or take the bus due to flooding and trapped traffic. The Skytrain is still operating but is swarming with crowds 10x the usual number, which was previously overcapacity for a city of many millions of daily commuters. (You might spend much of the evening/night, trapped on the stairs or elsewhere in the station, trying to board a train.) Ordinarily, it would take you at least 2 hours by car or other ground transport to get home. Walking, in unflooded conditions, would easily take 3-4 hour.

Many shops are already closed early as employees have fled hours ago to avoid evening traffic/flooding. Yet, you weren't able to do so due to professional obligations. Stopping into 7/11 or other shops for supplies (food, water, etc.) may be hit or miss. Shops may be closed, or supplies might already be gone.

It's hot, rainy, and miserable. You're far from home. Your family is waiting for you, and you don't know when the water might let up. It could be days before the floods subside. How do you get home? What do you do when you get there?

Bonus

Knowing the scenario described, what would you do in advance to prepare for this situation? (About a decade ago, severe flooding affected much of Thailand. Some people bought, or otherwise acquired, small boats, tall rain boots, fisherman rubber pants, and other equipment to survive weeks of flooding, so this is a somewhat realistic scenario, even if it doesn't happen all the time.)

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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by Stercutus » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:33 am

Sounds like you need a GHB (Get Home Bag).

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I own two boats. If it were flooded bad enough that the boats would move and the car would not I would have someone come pick me up in the bass boat if for some reason I had to leave.

Most likely though I would just get a local hotel room and call it good. No need to go out in that mess. If the company were insisting that I stay late I'd ask them to front it and take care of the arrangements. If the company refused maybe time to start looking for a new job where they place a higher value on human life.
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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by SiameseUrbanite » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:26 pm

Thanks for the GHB recommendations. It's something I've been looking into personally (beyond the given scenario). I have my EDC...uh...bag, but I think I'll probably ditch that in lieu of a proper GHB for emergencies.

As for your response, sounds about right based on reports of what I've heard of both Thais and some of the foreigners here doing in years past. If water is expected to stay at flood levels for any significant time, some people would opt to overnight it at the office and then slowly make their way home the next morning, with the intention of staying in until waters subsided.

Props to you on having a boat, btw. Do you figure that could navigate in an urban environment (where you live)? Given the scenario with all of the blocked traffic (and that Thai sidewalks have all sorts of obstacles: trees, random poles, signage, barriers to prevent cars/motorcycles from driving, etc.), I'd fear that boats would be pretty useless in any flooded Thai city (Bangkok or otherwise). Once cars and motorbikes were pulled from the streets though, it might be a different story.

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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by wamba » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:55 am

My first thought would be to shelter in place, but with family waiting that’s not an option.

Good shoes would be a must. Not necessarily to keep the feet dry but for protection, when wading it’s really easy to step on things you’d normally avoid. Without good protection this could result in cuts (bad for your health in flood waters) or twisted ankles.
Also some floatation that you could put supplies on and tow/push along would be a good idea. It’d suck to fall down in flood waters with a lot of weight on your back.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, & you can bet they'll whine that nobody warned them.

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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by SiameseUrbanite » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:07 pm

All great points, wamba! Here in Thailand, our streets and sidewalks are notorious for being uneven. Good that you thought of wearing solid footwear for such a situation.

Any recommendations on footwear for such a situation? Also, what kind of flotation device do you have in mind for hauling things along at water level?

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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by taipan821 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:32 am

Funny you should bring this up, just had major flooding where I live (2019 Australia)

Shelter in Place is the best option, trying to walk through floodwater in an urban setting is really dangerous, hidden currents, popped manhole covers, rapid erosion, animals in water, power, damaged bridges the list goes on and on. I would suggest to you, wait until the flooding recedes, or the crowd recedes at the train station, whichever comes first.

a GHB would be great for that situation, its easy to camp out in an office, your boss would likely understand. Also, if you are on high ground, find a nearby store, chances are they'll be open as well, just don't expect the basic supplies.

As for boats, they can navigate urban settings quite easily...as long as the water is deep enough for them. Emergency Services use them here quite regularly for flooding. match the boat's engine to the current (don't try to cross a flooded river with a 10hp motor)
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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by 12_Gauge_Chimp » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:04 pm

taipan821 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:32 am
Funny you should bring this up, just had major flooding where I live (2019 Australia)

Shelter in Place is the best option, trying to walk through floodwater in an urban setting is really dangerous, hidden currents, popped manhole covers, rapid erosion, animals in water, power, damaged bridges the list goes on and on. I would suggest to you, wait until the flooding recedes, or the crowd recedes at the train station, whichever comes first.

a GHB would be great for that situation, its easy to camp out in an office, your boss would likely understand. Also, if you are on high ground, find a nearby store, chances are they'll be open as well, just don't expect the basic supplies.

As for boats, they can navigate urban settings quite easily...as long as the water is deep enough for them. Emergency Services use them here quite regularly for flooding. match the boat's engine to the current (don't try to cross a flooded river with a 10hp motor)
This reminds me of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. I saw footage of folks (either dedicated rescue teams or volunteers like the Cajun Navy) using those little flat bottomed fishing boats to rescue folks in the flooded areas. There were probably some bigger boats being used in areas that required them, but for the most part, pretty much anything that could float and had some sort of engine was pressed into service. I even saw some folks using kayaks and those paddle boards to get around.

I think I even saw a couple of those air boats like you see zooming around the swamps in Louisiana and Florida.

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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by RoneKiln » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:31 pm

My family is not weak. They'll be fine without me for a few days or longer as needed. I keep some food in my office without these type of risks. If this was a more legit concern in my area and living situation, I would keep a small kit for sheltering in place at work that had more food, change of clothes, etc.
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Re: At Work/Things Go Bad (Bangkok Edition) - Version 1

Post by NamelessStain » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:01 am

First, if you must travel, I'd walk in the streets next to the walkways where the scooters usually go. No vehicles moving and the streets are smoother than the walkways. Also when the flooding gets bad they open those storm drains in the walkways. If you don't know where they are, you can easily fall into one and get hurt. Also between Sukumvit Soi 4 and Soi 6 they are doing major walkway repairs and upgrades with junk all over the place that you could get really hurt if it is under water and you cannot see it.

BTW, I was in BKK early March this year, hence I know about the sidewalk issues. Next time, Pattaya for some fishing and snorkeling :)

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