The following were originally posted to the Electronic National Dialogue on Transportation Operations.
Date: Thursday, 13 September 2001, at 2:50 p.m.
Just a message to the ITS community at large that those of us at TBTA who were not at IBTTA evacuated 2 Broadway immediately and left the downtown area before the tower collapse. It is our understanding that our ITS colleagues at Port Authority within the twin towers also ignored the announcements and evacuated, but I do not have 100% confirmation of this. Unfortunately, we already know that there are Port Authority operations people who were not as fortunate, and hope that the entire transportation community will help the families of our colleagues in this, their time of need.
In addition, many of us have witnessed at very close quarters unimaginable horrors, but we appreciate returning to work to show those terrorists that they cannot stop us or our freedom.
Date: Saturday, 22 September 2001, at 12:18 a.m.
I would like to post a follow-up that I think is on topic. I have subsequently found out that, although those of us in the ITS division, who are used to thinking about emergency management, evacuation procedures and the like, did evacuate not only our building but the area immediately, most of the other administrative personnel - legal, contracts, finance, payroll, information technology and so on - were confused, misdirected, and ended up experiencing that horrible dust and debris cloud that wreaked devastation on the entire Wall Street area. Working in a highrise, we have regular fire drills and instructions from fire marshalls on how to leave the building, but not on what it is safest to do next. Similarly, emergency responders in dense urban areas should be performing crowd control, using bull horns to give citizens information and instruct them on how to evacuate.
Unfortunately, in this case, a picture has been worth a thousand words, and more people will be aware of what could happen if you remain at the scene of an incident such as this. The emergency people who rushed in to help evacuate the buildings knew that they were putting themselves in harm's way, and are true heroes.
I could compare it to rubbernecking at a traffic incident expanded exponentially to a grand scale. The secondary incident was definitely more deadly than the primary incident. It could also serve to remind responders to use proper MPT, caution and common sense in their on-site activities.
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