Scientific American: Disaster Myths

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NT2C
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by NT2C » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:52 am

teotwaki wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:05 am
raptor wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:10 pm

BTW some looters will simply vandalize a place.

My $.02.
Yes. They have no shame and often think they are concealing their crime by vandalizing the place. Probably assuming there are no cameras or witnesses.
And then the self-document the crime by bragging about it on social media.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by dogbane » Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:37 am

ETA: What follows is intended to refocus the discussion and not to continue to hash out any discussion about looting. If you want to further discuss looting, I suggest a different dedicated thread on that topic.

I feel as if some of you are kind of missing the point. The article isn't really about looting, which it points out is fairly rare.

From the study linked in the article:
Conclusions

Citizens, at least in western societies, act as rationally in disaster situations as they do in everyday life. They do not panic, but will make
rather rational decisions as to what to do and what can be done, based on the available information and time.

Citizens who do not have adequate information to assess the situation, the risks and the possible actions, might make choices that – observing from a greater distance, with more overview – may be perceived as sub-optimal. One other reason for sub-optimal choices is the great sense of loyalty of citizens to those to whom they are close.

Generally speaking, however, citizen response is what saves the day when disasters strike. Not only do citizens effectively bring themselves to
safety, evaluations of disasters show that most of the victims were saved by their fellow citizens. Most of the initial aid is also provided by citizens.

It is best known from the massive amount of people who come to help with aid or materials. Up to this day, authorities have neglected the
possibilities and advantages of citizen response.
Most often, disaster plans generally approach the citizen as a helpless victim, who can only be
helped by the appropriate services. In this context it is striking how the fear of looting following disasters recurs time and again with authorities.
Although looting is actually extremely rare, the fear of it alone is enough to prevent authorities from letting citizens towards the disaster area.

Concluding from the observations above: it is necessary to take into account the possibilities of citizen response. Using this approach means that:
~ the flow of information before and during disasters must be aimed at the reasonable citizen to enable him to decide for him/herself, not to quiet his assumed fears.

~ the value of citizen response for rescue needs to be taken into account, especially where emergencies services have limited capabilities
to respond. Education, procedures and equipment for relief services have to be adjusted in such a way that the responding citizen will be
enable to work to the maximum of his/her capacities
.

~ the citizen response after the acute phase, especially the process of shelter and care, should be taken more into account as well.

However prepared the citizen is for disasters, then, the act of preparation of citizens themselves is an entirely different problem. This preparation
appears impossible to be stimulated, at least we know of no research which proves the opposite. In point of fact, however, the citizen is acting just
as rationally and capably in this phase as in the response phase of the disaster. Where the authorities do not prepare for accidents with a sufficiently small chance of accidents occurring, the citizen too will not find preparation necessary.

Research shows that citizens will prepare for accidents of which they have the perception that preparation for it is useful, and where there is a
reasonable chance they might occur. Worldwide, campaigns have proved successful in letting citizens prepare themselves for accidents such
as house fires, injuries to their children or electricity failures. It seems advisable to promote this preparation of citizens, as this is a sound basis for
citizen response in case of disaster.
And however you define "looting", there is a lot of evidence to support the assertion that fears of looting tend to be greater than the reality.
"There's no doubt that on any given day, there are people who are going to steal other people's stuff," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, who helped oversee the military response to Hurricane Katrina. "But what we see after these storms is a greatly overexaggerated concern."

In the days and weeks after Katrina made landfall, major news outlets relayed reports of rape and murder inside emergency shelters — many of which were later found to be false and may have delayed aid to evacuees. Some cable news broadcasts looped images of frantic flood survivors scavenging stores for food and supplies.

"That's not looting; that's survival mode," Honore said.

Race and class shaped perceptions after Katrina, experts said. Most of those stranded were both black and poor.

"There's a bias at play. People think that if you're poor or black you're always trying to steal something," Honore said. "These warnings about looting validate the stereotypes that people hold about poor people."
But the point I think we should be taking from this is that citizens are the first responders, and that more can be done by "authorities" to work with citizens rather than treating them paternalistically as victims. Any of you who have gone out with a chainsaw after a storm to clear trees from roadways and neighbor's driveways, any of you who have checked on neighbors, should understand this.

ZS is a site whose purpose is to encourage people to prepare for disasters. I think the article, which presumes that citizens are rational and capable of responding in disasters, and asserts that we (meaning civil society) should be looking at approaches to work with this tendency rather than against it, is consistent with the ZS mission.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by woodsghost » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:18 pm

You are dead on about the effect of citizens as first responders, and I think ZS has accepted that. Your points are well taken.

The authors point that looting is rare is want many posters are reacting to. The authors evidence does not convince most of us that he is correct in interpretating the evidence.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by raptor » Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:33 pm

Well said Wood Ghost.
woodsghost wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:18 pm
You are dead on about the effect of citizens as first responders, and I think ZS has accepted that. Your points are well taken.

The authors point that looting is rare is want many posters are reacting to. The authors evidence does not convince most of us that he is correct in interpretating the evidence.
raptor wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:10 pm

The statement that bystanders often aid people is logically understandable...it take a while for 1st responders to arrive...so yes bystanders will offer aid. Not all will, some will panic, some will run away in fear and yet others will help.

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by woodsghost » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:23 pm

raptor wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:33 pm
Well said Wood Ghost.
woodsghost wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:18 pm
You are dead on about the effect of citizens as first responders, and I think ZS has accepted that. Your points are well taken.

The authors point that looting is rare is want many posters are reacting to. The authors evidence does not convince most of us that he is correct in interpretating the evidence.
raptor wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:10 pm

The statement that bystanders often aid people is logically understandable...it take a while for 1st responders to arrive...so yes bystanders will offer aid. Not all will, some will panic, some will run away in fear and yet others will help.
It would have been said better if I could spell. I was on lunch, while also providing IT support (working lunch), and posting on ZS, all at the same time. Lord only knows what I did to that man's computer. ;)
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by teotwaki » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:19 pm

dogbane wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:37 am
ETA: What follows is intended to refocus the discussion and not to continue to hash out any discussion about looting. If you want to further discuss looting, I suggest a different dedicated thread on that topic.

I feel as if some of you are kind of missing the point. The article isn't really about looting, which it points out is fairly rare.
----snip----

I think that the article I snipped out of your post is forgetting orgs such as CERT which many cities have embraced and integrated.
https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team

FEMA also tries to foster youth involvement https://www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness-council

There are also numerous non-govt national, state and local orgs that have good ties with LEOs.
https://www.nvoad.org/voad-members/national-members/

Possibly LEOs could work more closely with citizens but it seems there is a good level of trust and cooperation in place.
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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:10 am

flybynight wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:31 am
Are you sure? They might just be sloppy procrastinating survivalists. Kind of a accident prone non prepared prepper.
:rofl: :clap:

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by DarkAxel » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:27 pm

It has been my experience that citizen response goes beyond community-level and above disasters. When I experienced a very personal SHTF situation back in June of 2017, it wasn't government agencies or food banks that helped me at first, it was friends and neighbors. After my preps ran out, it was friends and neighbors that made sure I had food to eat. Friends set me up with some short-term work to make money to pay bills and buy food. Neighbors got me to the grocery store. They got me to the Food Stamp office so I could sign up on those benefits. They checked up on me to make sure I had what I needed to survive. I found friends I didn't know I had. I can't count the number of times strangers put gas in my truck so I could get around before my truck shit the bed and got recycled.

Back in 2009 my AO had a seriously bad flash flood that stranded a bunch of folks. It wasn't state agencies that provided the initial response that got those people out of flooded areas, it was local private citizens who broke out their fishing boats. Several state agents, like Kentucky Forestry and Highway department employees, were safe and warm at a shelter opened by a local church before official rescue efforts began. Sure, there were looters, but they were vastly outnumbered by people donating time, money, and space to those displaced by floodwaters.

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by Stercutus » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:45 am

And just think, before that you told me you expected the worst out of everyone.
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new Son

But I'll kneel down wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

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Re: Scientific American: Disaster Myths

Post by raptor » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:49 am

In LA we have the Cajun Navy that responded to floods on several occasions. We also have a similar response during Katrina.

I would not that in all of those cases the citizen volunteers encountered resistance from authorities at varying levels and to varying degrees.

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