Today’s NY Times has a terrific article on evacuation issues and EM and should be read by all:
Dangers of Leaving No Resident Behind
section D – page 1
By GARDINER HARRIS
One sentence in that article towards the end has former Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thormburg discussing the danges of Emergency Macho in the context the TMI core melt accident.
“For Mr. Thornburgh, the lessons of the Three Mile Island accident were to restrain emergency personnel who wanted to act even if such action was not warranted; to resist what he called “emergency macho,” or the tendency to stay up all night so as to be able to brag about it later; and to stay calm.”
Always note that there was NO Presidential disaster declaration at TMI. NONE was ever requested by the Governor who did not want to project the image of a disaster being allowed on his watch. Was this being MACHO and stupid? See the discussion below and worthy of a later post. Then Governor Thornburgh did project an image of being calm and cool throughout the event as did the irrepressible Victor Stello of NRC long deceased who managed the event for the Commission. Two studies later recommened transfer of off-site saftey from the NRC to FEMA and that happened at the very end of the Carter Administration.
The point of this post is two-fold! First read the article and second reflect on the Governor’s point concerning the culture of EM and its desire to be MACHO! Hoping that a number of disciplines might study the issue. Certainly the FIRE SERVICE does have some difficulty handling its MACHO image. Perhaps that is why EMT and EMS and HAZMATS are different professions with different cultures from and within still to some extent the FIRE SERVICE.
Also note for the record that I was designated out of the wild blue yonder to explain to GAO why expenditures at TMI by FEMA from the DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] were legal even though no declaration of disaster. Whether for law or policy reasons GAO did not contest those payments.