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#206388 - 08/18/10 02:24 AM Real world situation 1 - What should I have done?
wolfepack Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 52
Loc: Lynnwood, WA, USA

Apparently I don't yet have the proper mindset for survival in instant-decision situations. The following actually happened to me today and I reacted by ... doing nothing. What is the forums opinion on how best to handle the situation.

Today, I was out to lunch at a restaurant near my place of work in downtown Seattle. The restaurant is on the Seattle bay waterfront and I was eating by myself. Suddenly everyone in the restaurant hears a very load BOOM. It was strong enough to feel. This was NOT a normal sound for downtown Seattle. It didn't sound like it happened next door, but didn't sound like it happened 5 miles away either. The single BOOM was all I heard though. No alarms, no breaking glass, etc. Everyone in the restaurant looked around, then looked at each other, then ... went back to eating lunch. This included myself. And that was it. Nothing else untoward occurred.

When the BOOM did occur, I thought it was unusual, but didn't think much else. About 15-20 minutes later I finished my lunch and headed back to the office. On the way back I wondered what had caused the sound and remembered the President was in Seattle today and was probably within 10 blocks of where I was eating lunch. That would certainly raise the threat level in the area! I looked closer at my surroundings, but everything seemed to be normal on the streets.

After getting back to the office, nobody at work showed any indication of anything strange having happened. I decided to see if I could find out what the sound was and did some Internet searching. Turned out that, due to the presidential visit, airspace around Seattle had been restricted. Apparently a small private plane entered the restricted airspace and some fighter jets were dispatched from Portland, OR (about 200 miles away) to intercept. Due to the distance, the fighters went to full-afterburner and this resulted in a big sonic-boom over their flight path. (Actually there were two sonic booms reported, but I only heard one.)

So my question to all of you is: What would have been your reaction to my situation upon hearing the BOOM? Thinking back on it, sitting there simply finishing my lunch was probably the worst thing I could have done, if it had been a real emergency. On the other hand, since it was NOT a real emergency, it was probably the best thing I could have done. Remember, I had no idea what the real source of the boom was. Could have been an explosion, crash, or collapse from any number of sources (attack, nearby banks, nearby railroad, nearby harbor, nearby freeways, nearby airport, nearby construction, etc.). It could have been almost anything else as well.

I might have only had seconds to save my life by reacting properly. Instead I did ... nothing.

Possible reactions I can think of:

1. hit the floor immediately
2. hit the floor immediately and then get out your portable police scanner, ham radio, am/fm radio, etc. to get more information
3. hit the floor immediately and draw your weapon
4. draw your weapon immediately and hit the floor
5. exit the building immediately via the nearest exit and take cover
6. exit the building immediately via the front entrance and take cover
7. exit the building immediately and run for the office where you have your GHB and other preps
8. exit the building immediately by diving through the nearest window and off the dock and into the sheltering waters of the bay
9. stand-up and tell everyone else in the restaurant to get down, then take cover yourself
10. stand-up, draw your weapon, and tell everyone else in the restaurant to get down, then take cover yourself
11. alertly evaluate the situation with all your senses and with no more information, immediately pay your bill and leave
12. draw your weapon, alertly evaluate the situation with all your senses, and with no more information, immediately pay your bill and leave
13. use your years of experience with explosions, car wrecks, train wrecks, sonic booms, etc. to instantly classify the boom as harmless
14. look around, look at other people, and if nothing else happens, go back to eating lunch.

I am sure there are many other possibilities. While I personally took option 14, I think I would favor option 11. In hindsight it is easy to pick an answer, but in the real moment what do you think I should have done?

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#206390 - 08/18/10 02:37 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
I'm in Olympia (60 miles south of Seattle) and felt them also. I was sitting at my kitchen counter and at first thought earthquake and promply got out of the kitchen area. It really rattled my house and windows. Apparently it took 911 down in at least a couple of counties due to all the calls.

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#206391 - 08/18/10 02:38 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
kd7fqd Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/07/05
Posts: 359
Loc: Saratoga Springs,Utah,USA
Number 11
no doubt about it
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My Blog emergencybobs.wordpress.com


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#206392 - 08/18/10 02:44 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
Yuccahead Offline
Member

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
I have heard quite a few sonic booms so I'd like to think I would have recognized it for what it was and remained calm. However, I heard a recording of the booms on NPR during my drive home and I must say it sounded startlingly loud.

I think that your when you say you did #14, you are doing yourself a disservice. Even though it wasn't as conscious an effort as you would like to think, you probably processed a lot of sensory inputs and then decided to stay put. That is, you did #11. You didn't hear additional noise or loud sirens, see the lights dim, a bright flash or see other signs of distress such as people running down the street -- so why panic?
_________________________
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#206393 - 08/18/10 02:50 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
LesSnyder Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1644
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
wolfepack... there is a decision making paradigm for potential high threat situations called "OODA" standing for observe, orient, decide, act.....you observe a potential threat situation....you physically orient your body to the threat (quickly scan around you as to not be overcome by tunnel vision)... decide what is the best course of action... act on your decision...even if you immediately identify the sonic boom, they typically do not happen over populated areas, so something unusual is going on...although I am a texting illiterate, most people have real time intelligence link via cell phone to open source intelligence, TV, radio etc. and probably a TV monitor somewhere in the restaurant...time to gain intel at a relative secure position, then make a decision how to react to a potential threat, or time for key lime pie...I was not a combat vet in SEA, but spent time in Thailand and the Phillipines and would not set with my back to a door for several years when I returned home .. regards Les

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#206394 - 08/18/10 03:00 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: LesSnyder]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I think you reacted well. You can't always go by what others are doing (or not doing), but without follow-up sounds or visuals, I'm glad you didn't run screaming down the street, starting a panic.

I grew up with sonic booms. I thought they were sonic booms *shrugs*, maybe aircraft from Ft. Lewis/McChord playing around. Their humongous whup-whup-whup helicopters fly over my house fairly frequently, sounding about five feet above the trees.

I guess it scared a lot of dogs, though.

Sue

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#206395 - 08/18/10 03:05 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: LesSnyder]
wolfepack Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 52
Loc: Lynnwood, WA, USA
One other thought occurred to me about this situation. One of goals of survival is to recognize potentially dangerous situations and avoid them to begin with. So another possible reaction:

15) call in sick to work knowing the presidential visit could severely magnify the danger of being at work.

Would anyone on these forums be that pro-active? I guess the same thing would be true if you knew a big demonstration was planned as well.



Edited by wolfepack (08/18/10 03:13 AM)

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#206396 - 08/18/10 03:10 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
wolfepack Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 52
Loc: Lynnwood, WA, USA
One other thing. If anyone was interested, the private plane was a non-threat and the fighters returned to their base. Apparently this type of thing happens all the time. My Internet search showed that private planes have wandered into restricted airspace and fighters have been scrambled many times, no matter who is serving as president.

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#206399 - 08/18/10 03:29 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: wolfepack]
Crookedknife Offline
Stranger

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 24
Loc: Washington
Originally Posted By: wolfepack

15) call in sick to work knowing the presidential visit could severely magnify the danger of being at work.

Would anyone on these forums be that pro-active?



I'm afraid I don't have that luxury. :\ I work in a hospital, and I'm expected to show up *especially* if something big's going down.

I think if I were in your lunchtime situation, I'd have gotten suspicious, stuffed my face with a last few bites, paid the bill, and gone back to work. The only big booms I've ever heard are from magnum rifles, thunder, dynamite, and lake ice breaking; I've never heard a sonic boom. I'd probably think a building got damaged and that the hospital would get a flood of injured victims.

As it was, I never heard anything regarding any of this over the radio or on the alert service that sends me emails, and I live near Seattle. That shows how much I need to improve at being in touch with the world.
_________________________
"Let us climb a mountain, hanging on by low scragged limbs." - Roger Zelanzany

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#206403 - 08/18/10 03:50 AM Re: Real world situation 1 - What should I have done? [Re: Crookedknife]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
http://www.theolympian.com/2010/08/17/1339007/lound-booms-heard-throughout-south.html

Here's the story in the Olympian. They came up from Portland, rather than coming out of McChord. Must have been really cooking when they came over Olympia.


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