Be Like Rick – 9/16/13

 In Tip of the Week

Last week, many of us paused to remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and flight 93, which landed in a field in Pennsylvania.  There were many heroes of the day.  Rick Rescorla was one of them, credited with saving up to 2700 lives. He was the security officer for Morgan Stanley, one of the largest tenants of the World Trade Center, Building 5.


Rick’s life history was quite impressive, and is detailed on Wikipedia.  You can read the full story through this link:  We won’t go into details of his life here, but want to point out 3 sentences in this biography:

1. “At Rescorla’s insistence, all employees, including senior executives, then practiced emergency evacuations every three months.”

2. “…He concluded that employees of Morgan Stanley, which was the largest tenant in the World Trade Center, could not rely on first responders in an emergency, and needed to empower themselves through surprise fire drills, in which he trained employees to meet in the hallway between stairwells and go down the stairs….”

3. “When a Port Authority announcement came over the P.A. system urging people to stay at their desks, Rescorla ignored the announcement, grabbed his bullhorn, walkie-talkie and cell phone, and began systematically ordering Morgan Stanley employees to evacuate, including the 1,000 employees in WTC 5. He directed people down a stairwell from the 44th floor, continuing to calm employees after the building lurched violently following the crash of the second plane 38 floors above. Morgan Stanley executive Bill McMahon stated that even a group of 250 people visiting the offices for a stockbroker training class knew what to do because they had been shown the nearest stairway.”

Rick Rescorla’s heroism did not start on the morning of September 11, 2001.  He was a hero all his life.  While employed by Morgan Stanley, he initiated evacuation training and drills years before the tragic events of that fateful day – every one had to participate, executives, managers, secretaries – everyone!  And visitors were informed of emergency evacuation routes as their day began – life giving information.

Here’s what the SCM Team would like you to take away from this safety tip:

1. The time to prepare for an emergency is NOW.  You can’t prepare for a life-threatening event when it happens.  A wildfire threatened a community near the SCM Training Center this past week.  We can’t wait until we see flames to prepare.  We discuss evacuation routes, review them with students at our training center at the start of each class, remind each other at staff meetings, and walk the routes regularly.  Preparing before an emergency applies to terrorist attacks, flooding like what is happening now in Colorado, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, power outages – even the active shooter incident occurring at the Naval Shipyard in Washington DC this morning.

2. Don’t just talk about what you would do.  Practice it!  Drill!  And then do it again!  Any musician will tell you that “practice makes permanent”.  As training professionals, we can tell you that you will remember more what you do, than just what you read about.

3. Take it home.  Do the people you live with know what to do in an emergency?  Who’s more important?  Even small children can learn how to evacuate a home, and where the family will meet if there’s an emergency. Think of it this way, the life you save by initiating emergency planning at home might be a life you love.

Rick Rescorla was a hero, saving lives on 9/11.  Be a hero.  Take safety and security seriously.  Be like Rick.

NOTE:  You can also read more about Rick Rescorla through a memorial website –  The picture we used today was posted on that site.

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