Thursday, June 3, 2010
Worst case scenario
There's two phrases I keep hearing in the news of late that I hate. "That this will never happen again" is one of them and "worst case scenario" is the other. That this will never happen again is foolish. As we continue to move technology forward with yet bigger and bigger endeavors it will be the very nature of circumstance to have bigger and bigger accidents. We have done this by the necessity of an ever growing population.
Let's take worst case scenario. That's right up my alley. All of the emergency response books that I have deal specifically with worst case spills. The process isn't complicated. Non response people are evacuated. The chemical or "product" is identified (that can be done 24 hours a day) calling an ID hotline. Then the response personnel having determined proper protective equipment establish a perimeter with booms, sweeps, absorbent pads or even cat litter is used. Then the product is collected for disposal or recycle. We always assume that things can get worse and often times they do.
That this will never happen again? Of course it will happen again. As long as people fail to follow procedures, as long as profits are ahead of safety and as long as there are failures in communication there will be agains. Never happen again? Of course events will happen again but it's a matter of how well prepared and how much money business is willing to pay up front to deal with the possibilities. How much profit are they willing to part with to prevent future events?
I had considered going down there to help out but after seeing the way this is being managed and the fact that it would be somewhat economically unrealistic I think not. I'm seeing unmanned booms. Booms and sweeps being laid wrong. And workers spending 8 to 12 hours in the sun cleaning up the same spot over and over and getting nowhere. Until the leak is truly slowed and some other techniques incorporated then this is just an exorcise in futility. As long as BP remains in charge of this "clean up" then nothing will be done right. They may have drilled wells all over the world but they seem to have no clue as far as fixing their mistakes and cleaning the mess.