>>> FS: It is my great pleasure right now to introduce Amanda Ripley. She is a longtime contributor to Time Magazine and has written a most fascinating and compelling book, The Unthinkable. She's won numerous journalism awards and I know that what she'll say today is something you'll take home and implement in your communities. She probably knows more about how her own brain works and how she might respond in a crisis situation than anyone in this room. So I want you to think about what she has to say and think about how you can translate this into action in your communities. And, finally, I just wanna say that Amanda is here today as an act of public service and I think that's really a testament to her passion for the issue of safety and security and preparedness and to her commitment to share the information that she's learned. So thank you very much and let me introduce Amanda Ripley. >>> Crowd Applause >>>AMANDA RIPLEY: Well, thank you very much. I wanna thank Karen for inviting me and all of you for being here. It's-it's all-it's sort of-it's very cool looking out at you. I mean, you're all here despite everything, right? I don't know if anyone else feels like that but despite the recession and the heat wave... What else? What else we got? H1N1. You're all here and I am a great believer in the reason that you're here. I know that between the economy and everything else, we're living in very uncertain times, so I wanna talk to you today about one thing that is certain, because there isn't much, right? But I wanna talk to you about one thing that you can predict and you can control, because I know that most of you will go back to jobs in which there is much that you cannot predict nor control. So the thing that you can predict and sometimes control is human behavior under extreme duress. And I got interested in this personally through my work at Time Magazine. I noticed that in all of the stories that I covered from 9/11 to anthrax to Katrina, of course, that there was one interesting gap. And it seemed to me that the most interesting, surprising, important things were being told to me by the people, the regular people, who had survived these events. They told me that it felt physically, socially, psychologically very different from what they had expected. Not always different bad but different. And, yet, when I would go to cover official, you know, Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness events and committee hearings and so forth for Time Magazine, there was very little intersection between what the survivors were telling me mattered and what we were talking about as a Nation. So I became more and more obsessed with human behavior in disasters and I took a year off from my job at Time and traveled around the world interviewing basically two groups of people. By the way, I highly recommend taking a year off from your job and going around the world. I don't know how I pulled that one off but I don't think I'll ever be able to pull it off again. But it was great. So I basically talked to two groups of people-people who had survived pretty intense ordeals from the sinking of the Estonia in the Baltic Sea in 1994, which remains the worst sea disaster in modern European history, to Hurricane Katrina, of course, to the tsunami, to smaller-smaller disasters like plane crashes, car crashes. And it turned out that the behavior was almost always the same, which was cool because it meant that even though you can't predict what you're going to encounter in this world, you can predict your behavior to a degree. So I talked to these survivors and they would tell me these really mysterious, interesting things, some of which I understood and some of which I didn't. And then the other group of people that I talked to were people who understand the brain. So neuroscientists, trauma psychologists; people who train fire fighters understand the brain, people who train soldiers, police officers. I spent a lot of time with this great guy who lives in Colorado who's a racecar driver and instructor, who also teaches kids how to drive. And he teaches them according to how their brains actually work, which is a radical concept. So I was able to kind of take these two groups and compare and contrast their stories to learn about how people behave, and I think it actually... One of the things that came up again and again, and I don't know that this will surprise anyone in this room, but it encapsulates what I'm trying-one of the main themes so well that I wanna share it... It came out of some interviews that a sociologist did with survivors of wildfires in California. And the quote is, "There is no they. They won't tell us if there is danger, they aren't coming to help, and they won't correct bad information. We have to do that amongst ourselves." And I think it's a great quote. It's almost like a poem. Maybe we should all wake up and do this meditation every morning, "There is no they." So I... And it's-it doesn't-it doesn't need to be frightening, I think. I think you all know that it can be actually quite motivational. So I wanna talk today about the three phases that most people go through in most disasters. There are differences, obviously, and some people go through one phase in seconds and some people take months, so it varies a bit. But I'm gonna try to make sure that we save some time at the end for questions, so if you have anything that you wanna add or you disagree with or agree with, you wanna ask me about, please make a note of it and I will ask for questions at the end. The first phase is a phase of profound and creative denial, different than the sort of work-a-day denial that we're all accustomed to, right? Like this morning when I was like, "You know what? I'm not gonna take the metro here. I'm gonna take a cab because it's really hot and..." You know? And you come up with all these sort of elaborate rationalizations for it. Not like that, right? This is something else. And to explain what I mean, I wanna introduce you to a man named Patrick Turner. And I'm just gonna tell you a story now because that's really all I do. Sometimes I digress and I try to like lecture you, and that's the most boring part. So I'm just gonna tell you stories as much as I can force myself just to do that. So, Patrick Turner was a large man with a full set of white hair who lived in eastern New Orleans all his life. He was a World War II veteran who worked at the Federal Housing Administration. And the rest of his life was all about his family. He loved having them around and he dedicated himself to rituals that kept them coming together. So every Sunday he cooked a big, old dinner with roast beef and mashed potatoes and green beans and on holidays, even the smaller holidays, he decked out his house with ornaments, a little shotgun house in eastern New Orleans. On St. Patrick's Day, he put leprechauns all over the house and on Valentine's Day, he put cardboard hearts hanging from the bushes. He was that guy, right? That guy. And people would drive by to see the house on the holidays. And, of course, Christmas was like the major finale. On Christmas Eve, he had all his relatives over and he hosted a big party and he put on a big, heavy, red suit and played Santa Claus. And he did this for 48 years, this guy. But Patrick was also stubborn and the older he got the more obstinate he became. Sound familiar to anyone? He was strictly Catholic and there was no other religion that existed except Catholicism. And God help you if you said anything bad about President Bush. He kept his Christmas cards scotch-taped to the kitchen window. But sometimes Patrick's certainty about the world actually masked his fear. He hated hospitals, for example. He was convinced that doctors were using him for his Medicare payment. And his daughter used to call him Archie Bunker. He didn't often talk about his experiences in World War II but the memories stalked him after dark and several times a week he would wake up in the middle of the night crying. When Hurricane Katrina began its approach towards New Orleans in August of 2005, Patrick's four grown children knew that it was serious. By Friday, they had started calling hotels in Mississippi. His daughter called Patrick and he said, "Let's wait. It's too early." By Saturday, New Orleans' mayor, Ray Nagin, was advising residents to evacuate. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "this is not a test." And even in Ray Nagin's lazy drawl, there was a note of urgency. "Board up your homes. Treat this one differently because it's pointed towards New Orleans." His daughter called again. Patrick said he'd made up his mind; he was staying. "These storms always make that turn to Pascagoula, he said. His daughter argued with him and he laughed and he said, "You all are very dramatic." On Sunday morning, less than 24 hours before landfall, Nagin finally called for an unprecedented mandatory evacuation. "We are facing a storm that most of us have long feared. This is very serious, he said on TV. "I want to emphasize the first choice of every citizen should be to leave the city." Patrick went to mass just like he did every day. There weren't many people there and when the priest asked him what his plans were, he said that he'd made up his mind to stay. He said, "My family's been aggravating me but I'm staying." Now it wasn't that Patrick thought that he was immortal, right? I mean, his siblings had been passing away, his friends. He thought about death a lot, actually. But he had powerful patterns in his head. So I wanna talk a little bit about some of the patterns that affected behavior in New Orleans and in the Gulf Coast. And I think patterns are important. This is a picture of the brain and that dark blue object deep in the base of the brain there is called the amygdala. This is the part of your brain that takes over when you're frightened. It's actually... There's a risk professor at Harvard who refers to the amygdala as the basement in your brain and I think that's a good-that's a good way to put it. So when you're frightened, your brain goes to the basement. And it's an unfinished basement and it's very different than how we operate under normal times. But one thing that is the same is that the brain operates by recognizing patterns. The brain loves patterns, which is why we love music, which is why we invented it. So the brain processes everything that's happened by fitting it in to what's happened before. It's very different than a computer operates and it's important, I think, to understand it when you're making plans for how people will function. So right now you're watching me drone on and fitting me into all the other smucks who've come before you in ballrooms just like this, right? And 90 percent of your assumptions are correct and we're gonna talk today about the 10 percent. One thing that we know is that when people are uncertain, when there is a lot of uncertainty, patterns become more important. The brain will use shortcuts in order to process information and the more uncertainty, the more shortcuts. So whatever's in there-in your head when you're under stress is pretty much all you're gonna get. Right? So it's sort of like a playlist in your head and it's very hard under the influence of stress to get out of that playlist, to process new information. Even... You remember the U.S. Airways 1549 that ditched in the Hudson this winter? So when Captain Sullenberger was interviewed, his first interview, he said that his initial reaction when he lost both engines was disbelief. He said, "I can't believe this is happening. This doesn't happen to me." And then he put it very well. He said, "I had this expectation that my career would be one in which I wouldn't crash an airplane." Fair expectation but he's identifying the pattern in his head. Now he was able to push through that phase very quickly thanks to his training and his temperament and other things, but not everyone is. We know in particular when you're very frightened, you get an injection of hormones, right? Cortisol and adrenalin in particular interfere with the brain's ability to process new information. So people in plane crashes often have trouble unbuckling their seatbelt. People in sinking ships often have trouble putting lifejackets on. They often report that the lifejackets were broken, and sometimes they were and often they weren't. But it's hard for you to deal with anything that you're not intimately familiar with when you're under stress. Patrick Turner, like many of Louisiana's oldest residents, had survived Hurricane Betsy in 1965. He had also survived Hurricane Camille, a Category 5 hurricane that struck in 1969. Patrick Turner and his family rode out both of those storms without a problem so he saw no reason to leave for Katrina. And, as it turned out, he was half right, wasn't he? Katrina was less powerful than Camille and had the world stood still since then, he would have been just fine. But, of course, we know that we had changed the surface of the earth, right? I mean, rapid development had destroyed much of the wetlands that had in the past created a natural barrier, sort of buffer against storm surge. And now the force field was down. So Patrick insisted on staying in his shotgun house. It was a one-story structure two blocks from Lake Pontchartrain. His daughter called now desperate and asked him on Sunday to please put some tools up in the attic because, of course, the stories in Louisiana are legendary of people going into their attics in floods. By this point, Patrick was getting truly annoyed. He had already stopped watching the weather on TV and around then he took his phone off the hook. We know that after Katrina a poll of 680 New Orleans residents asked why they had not evacuated before the storm and many did indeed cite a lack of transportation. But the most popular explanation given by 64 percent was that they did not think the storm would be as bad as it was. Does anyone know what the biggest predictor was of who did not evacuate before Katrina? Who survived one before, which is another way of saying age. So it wasn't income and it wasn't race, although those things mattered. But it was age. And, in fact, in retrospect half of those in that survey who had not evacuated, they said they could have found a way to leave if they wanted to. That's a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post. So motivation, as we know, matters more sometimes than transportation, although they both matter, don't they? At 7:00 a.m. on Monday, August 29th, as we know, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana with winds up to 140 miles an hour. At 9:00 a.m., Patrick's children dialed his number again. Sometime in the intervening period he put his phone back on the hook. "It's real windy," he told his son. The electricity was out and he was worried about the big tree in his yard. And then he said something he rarely ever said. He said, "I think I made a mistake." His son told him to hang in there. But then the flood waters came breaching the levees in half a dozen places and charging through the streets. Then the five-mile bridge that crossed Lake Pontchartrain broke into pieces, cutting Patrick off from his children. And finally the phones went out for good. Water poured in from the lake rising five feet in his one-story house, and all of his possessions-his photographs, his Santa suit, all the reminders of his wife who had died 3 years before began to sink. Patrick pulled down the stairs to the attic and he went up there. He brought a gallon of water, a bucket, and two candles. For 9 days the phones stayed down and the roads remained impassible. All of Patrick's children, except for one, had also lost their homes and they were desperate to get to their father but they could not. Finally the phones came back on and Patrick's daughter made a frantic call to a radio station and she pleaded with someone, anyone, to go check on her father. Three hours later she got a call from rescue officials. They had found her father in the attic with a baseball bat and the crucifix he kept by his bed. He was dead at age 85, apparently killed by a heart attack. Time of death was unknown. Now I realize that we'll never know if anyone could have said or done anything to make Patrick Turner leave, but his family told me this story because they want it to be worth something. And they want people to know that when it comes to hurricanes, or actually any kind of threat, the elderly in particular are obviously a very high-risk group. And the patterns are powerful and they will trump everything else. And I think one thing that we know from Florida, for example, that helps is to talk about the patterns. So if the evacuation last time was a fiasco, talk about it and talk about how it's gonna be different. If Camille was stronger than Katrina, talk about it and talk about why it's different. People can revisit patterns but it takes-it takes a lot of deliberation, which is the next phase. Deliberation. People are highly social, it turns out, in disasters. Right? They turn into like these incredibly courteous, interested, thoughtful, obedient people. I was just talking last week to a gentleman who worked-works at the Pentagon and he was there on 9/11, and he said he remembered that, you know, when he-after the plane struck and he got out of the building and he's covered in soot, he's got his-his, you know, his uniform on and he-all-of course, all he wants to do is what? Find his children, get to his family. So he jumps in his car and he drives-he drives over to get across the bridge into D.C. and, of course, it's blocked off. And he-and he takes out his ID and he pleads with the soldier and-assuming the guy's not gonna let him go. And the guy not only let him go, but he gave him a four motorcycle police escort. And there they go through the city picking up children at daycare, two different daycares. And then he had to get back into Virginia. It took him about two hours to go about eight miles and he said he'll never forget it. The people on the road that day were the kindest, most considerate group he'd ever seen, and there was such a juxtaposition, right, with his normal Washington rush hour experience. And that's what you hear again and again, isn't it? Again and again. People show each other extreme courtesy in disasters and that's not because they're nice, right? It's because it's in their survival interest to do so. And I think most of you probably know this, that people do not tend to panic in most extreme events; they tend to become quiet and obedient and they show each other courtesy. And, actually, the same is true of chimpanzees. I happen to just... I'm really interested in chimpanzees so any excuse I'll talk about... But I did talk to one of the foremost experts in the world on chimpanzees about this and I said, "Okay, what do chimpanzees do when they're under threat?" And he said, "Well, that almost never happens but when it happens, they form groups and they treat each other with affection. And whoever was in charge before becomes even more powerful." Sound familiar? So this deliberation phase is extremely important, right? And we know that people check with four to five sources before evacuating before a hurricane, for example, and that's after getting the official order to evacuate. And so this period of deliberation can be very productive or not depending really on how much latent wisdom there is, right, in the group that you're deliberating with. One of the things we know from the World Trade Center evacuation is that this... You know, I talk a lot in my book about a woman named Ellea who evacuated from the Trade Center and she now gives tours of Ground Zero, like a lot of the survivors and firefighters. And she said that the most popular question she gets is what was it like in the stairwell. And she has to tell people, "You know what? It was quiet. People were handing water bottles down and any time a firefighter was coming up or an injured person was going down, they all moved over single file." And this is one of the few pictures from the stairwell. You can see how hot it was, and this firefighter did survive. And people were just, you know, remarkably well behaved. And it's actually not remarkable because we know that this is sort of the norm in most situations, but now we're starting to have some interesting evidence of this that we wouldn't have had before. I don't know if you remember this but there was a Qantas 747 that was flying from Hong Kong to Melbourne last summer. It was 346 passengers and there was in the middle of the flight a loud bang and a hole of about the size of a minivan opened up in the underbelly of the plane. And the plane lost pressure rather dramatically and oxygen masks descended and no one knew what was wrong and it was quite dramatic. And they had decided to do an emergency landing in the Philippines. So I wanna show you something that we have. I hope this works all right. It's now become standard, of course, for people to take out their cell phones and document what's happening, which is useful only in retrospect, but I don't know if you can hear it. The important thing about this, there actually is audio on this and the important thing about the audio-can we bump that up a little bit if we can-is that it's quiet. And this is what you hear from passengers over and over again who are involved in emergency landings. That period we all dread between when you know that something's wrong and you land, this is what it sounds like. That's a baby crying. Pretty standard. I mean, it's-the baby's not happy. I'm gonna give you that. But, you know, people-a lot of people put on their oxygen mask. You don't need to keep 'em on for very long. A lot of people had trouble with them, also not surprising given what we talked about. And people just got very quiet. So you can be frightened, right; I mean, your heart can be pounding in your chest and you can be quiet, but it's not this sort of mass hysteria. This is on YouTube. I mean, it's actually a good thing to show people who don't believe you when you tell them that people tend not to panic. They're doing the landing now. [CLAPPING] It's an easy crowd. There were no injuries on that flight. Another good example of this comes from the tsunami. So we remember, obviously, that the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia killed over 200,000 people. What most people don't know about tsunamis is they often come with a natural warning system that is free. Does anyone wanna shout out one of the natural warnings of a tsunami? [ALL TALKING AT ONCE] People... Animals run. People love this one. Oh, my God! Everywhere I go people are like, "Animals run. Animals run. Animals run." And that's-you know, anecdotally there's huge evidence for that. You're right. There's no research evidence that I've found that confirms that that's true, but that doesn't mean it's not true. It's just hard to document. And it's true, there were places where during the tsunami more animals survived than humans provided the animals were free to go to high ground. Another warning sign? Water sucks back. Good. Yeah, the water sucks back and sort of acts strangely. It might get kind of frothy, shallow, strange behavior. And then the other one, if the ground shakes, right? So if the ground shakes, get to high ground. So this is a picture taken moments before the 2004 tsunami. You might be able to see that the sea has receded here. This is in Thailand. It was a picture taken by a tourist. And it's a strange sight and everybody is talking about it and taking pictures and walking towards it, unfortunately. This is a picture taken during the tsunami. You can look up there in the upper left-hand corner, you'll see the water coming in, also in Thailand. In this case, people had also converged on the water, and this dive instructor wearing black in the foreground, he saw that and thought people were drowning. So he started running towards the water only, of course, to see the water coming in and then he pivoted and started running. And I think it's a very poignant expression. I don't know if you can make it out but on that little boy's face, he's looking at the dive instructor and even in this moment where they're running for their lives, he's looking for cues. It's like a social moment. And there's great opportunity in that moment if there's time. This, of course, is a picture of some of the worst damage of the tsunami. But I wanna tell an example of what can happen, and this happened in lots of cases. This is sort of a Western biased example because it's hard to find cases that are not-that are in English that are not Western but-and that are easily accessible. But this is a girl named Tillie Smith who was 10 years old and she was vacationing in Thailand with her family from the U.K. when the tsunami happened. I'm gonna let the video do the talking here. >>>: [VIDEO] "Now another role of survival, recognizing danger in time to do something about it. Sometimes that recognition can come from the most surprising person, for example, a 10-year-old girl who learned a valuable lesson in science class. It is Christmas Break 2004. Ten-year-old Tillie Smith is on vacation with her parents and her sister Holly. They have left their home in England to spend the holidays on the coast of Thailand. It's like paradise, like white sand and blue-turquoise sea. On the morning of December 26th the family has taken a long walk on the beach but Tillie notices something is very different about the ocean that day. The water was really, really frothy. It wasn't calm and it wasn't going in and then out; it was just coming in and in and in. As Tillie watches the strange, frothy water, she remembers a lesson in school a few weeks ago about tsunamis and what the ocean does just before one hits. Recognizing the danger, she tries desperately to convince her parents to return to their hotel. She kept saying, "It bubbles. The water bubbles." That's what she kept saying to me like that. "And it goes around and around. It's the water, she kept saying. "The water. It's what happens when there's been an underwater earthquake." And we sort of ignored her and said, "It'll be all right." We just carried on walking and then Tillie got more and more hysterical and more demanding. She looks up and she just sat down in the sand. She said, "I know what's gonna happen. There's gonna be a big wave." And I was just like, "Listen to me. I know I'm right. There is gonna be a tsunami." Tillie's mother continues her walk along the beach but her father is unsettled by Tillie's alarm and agrees to take her back to the hotel. There he approaches a security guard stationed on the beach. I said, "Look. You probably think I'm absolutely bonkers but my daughter's completely convinced there's gonna be a tsunami." And then there was a Japanese guy and tsunami's a Japanese word so I think he knew-he knew what it was. And then he was, "Yeah, there's been an earthquake in Sumatra. I think your daughter's right." The security guard begins waving people out of the sea. Less than 10 minutes after Tillie first noticed the strange frothy water, dozens of hotel guests are now evacuating the beach. Colin Smith waves frantically to his wife trying to signal her to return. Just as the family steps off the beach to the hotel a wall of water 30 feet high surges toward the shore. And then the next thing I remember is Penny running, screaming, "Get the kids." And I looked around and the water was just coming out of the sea. And this wall of water is coming straight for us. We just screamed, "Run!" And I ran and then I thought we're gonna die. And that was probably the most frightened I've ever been in my life. The Smiths just make it onto the second floor when the tsunami smashes into their hotel crushing everything in its path. We got out to the balcony and looked out and saw the devastation of what had happened. It was just amazing and frightening. If you'd been in that, what would have happened to you? The giant tsunami of 2004 killed 230,000 people in Southeast Asia, 5,000 of them in Thailand alone. At Tillie's hotel, there were several injuries but not a single death, thanks, in part, to the warnings of a little girl the British press calls "The Angel of the Beach." It was later when we sort of went through what happened and how lucky we were cause if she hadn't told us, we would have just kept on walking. I'm convinced we would have died........." So it's an interesting example of how simple this kind of thing can be. Remember after the tsunami there was a lot of talk about how we need to build a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean, which is true, and, you know, I think that's important. It's also expensive and it can break. But you heard a lot less, I think proportionately, talk of this. And it's funny how these stories come out and we... He mentioned that the British press called her "The Angel of the Beach." So we sort of have this... In the media we have this, you know, heroine or hero narrative and we fit it into that mold as opposed to, "Well, Jesus Christ, how come no one else knew about this, right, which is the obvious question. And, actually, that's one of the reasons I got into this, because I found with these disasters you're sort of doing three stories over and over and over. Right? I mean, the media, you know, there's no disaster beat. I mean, I-I'm-I have a disaster beat but it's not normal. And so we cover every hurricane as if it's never been covered before. Right? And there's CNN out there in a slicker and the rain's going sideways. It's like, "Oh, my God," you know, and-as if we don't know exactly what's gonna happen. We know everything except exactly where it's gonna make landfall. Right? We know how people are gonna behave. And I found that we did three stories. The first is the story before the event, right, so there's a lot of fear and uncertainty and anticipation. That's one. Second story is during and right after, and we talk about loss and suffering and grief. And what's the third one? Recrimination. Recrimination. Up here, the gentleman in the front. Blame. Yes, Blame, recrimination. That's another tried-and-true formula. And I found that this was actually a way to move the conversation forward. Let's talk... Instead of those three things or in addition to those three things, let's talk about how people behave and how we can do better. What happens to your brain in the worst of times? Because the brain, the cool thing about the brain, is that it's infinitely malleable. I mean, yeah, it has its problems, right, but it can change so... It changes all the time. It's changing right now. I mean, we just-just beginning to understand this, right? I mean, there's been these fascinating brain imagery studies on people who learn how to juggle, for example. They juggle for 2 weeks, their brain looks different. So they have an increase in gray matter in part of the brain that handles certain functions of coordination. Same with taxi drivers. Before they start and then after 2 months on the job in London-brain looks different in all kinds of ways. It might be the-it might the drinking. No, I'm just kidding. So... And then same when you learn another language. I mean, the brain changes all the time. And so, you know, even though we are very dependent on patterns, we readily accept new patterns if we have realistic training for those patterns. So, to me, this is a new and useful and productive way of talking about disasters as opposed to just doing the same stories over and over about the hero and the victim. I know Craig Fugate spoke here earlier and, you know, I'm a huge believer in the line that he says, which he may... I don't know if he used it. Yes, he did. Okay. So he says, "You know, we gotta stop calling people victims and start calling them survivors." And I think that that's right. It's incredibly encouraging and affirming on one hand, and it also happens to be true, which is nice. Because we know it's not just in tsunami. You ask any firefighter, they'll tell you the most important decisions in a fire are made before the trucks arrive. I mean, there's good research on this. Because in a fire the people who are most at risk have to make decisions in those moments that make all the difference about whether to fight the fire, whether to flee, how to flee, where to flee, and then the trucks come. There's a great example, a sociologist did a study of a terrible gas line explosion that happened in Mexico years ago in the '90s and it just, you know-you know, miles of streets just ruptured, just inflamed. All these houses were destroyed and hundreds of people died and it was a major emergency. And, you know, everybody called up the troops and the rescuers, and rescue workers from California got on planes and the search and rescue dogs got called up. And on the-in the meantime, who did the vast majority of the lifesaving? It was the neighbors, right, because they're on the scene, for sure, always. They're there. And so they did remarkable things these people. You know, they used garden hoses to get air into tight spots where people were under collapsed buildings. And 26 hours later the rescue dogs got there and there was no one to save, right? So these are the people that the conversation needs to be about. And I wanna give you an example of one man who understood this. And that gets to the third phase which I call the decisive moment, which depends utterly on what's happened in the first two phases. Rick Rescorla, anyone ever heard of him? A few hands. So Rick Rescorla was born in the U.K. It's a weird U.K. bias in this speech today, I'm not sure why. And he... But he wanted to fight the communist in Vietnam so he joined the U.S. military when he was young. And he-when he got there, to Vietnam, he earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart in battles that were memorialized in this book, a very successful book called We Were Soldiers Once and Young. That happens to be Rick on the cover. And then after the military he did what a lot-what a lot of people do and he jointed private security and he became head of security in the '80s for Morgan, Stanley, Dean, Witter. Morgan, Stanley occupied 22 floors of Tower Two in the World Trade Center. Twenty-two floors! It was like a little city unto itself. And after the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbee, Rick got very worried that the terr-that the World Trade Center was a perfect terrorist target. So he called up a buddy of his who did counterterrorism and he asked him to come do a walkthrough of their building. And when they got to the parking garage, his friend said, "Well, this is a no-brainer. I'd just put some fertilizer in a truck and drive it into the parking garage. There's not enough, you know, security here." So they wrote a report together and gave it to the Port Authority with all sorts of recommendations of what to do. And some of them cost money and according to them the Port Authority did nothing. "The Port Authority did not return my calls." Anyway, 3 years later, as we know, Ramzi Yousef drove a truck full of fertilizer into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center. And after the bomb went off sending vibrations up through the tower, Rick stood up in Morgan, Stanley's large, open trading floor and started shouting to begin the evacuation. How do you think that went over? So there's some debate about what happened next. Some people say that he actually stood on the table and dropped his pants but I think that he said, "Do I have to drop my trousers to get your attention?" But whatever happened, people eventually looked over at him and quieted down and he handed out flashlights and started the evacuation down the darkened stairways. The '93 evacuation was a fiasco, right? Four hours, no lights, stairways full of smoke, really, really terrible. And so now Rick was pissed, right? He predicted this and the evacuation was-it was a-just a total failure. He also knew that the risk of another terrorist attack did not diminish with each passing normal day and he knew it was foolish to rely on the Port Authority or even first responders to save his employees given their location. Morgan, Stanley was the largest tenant in the World Trade Center so he decided that Morgan, Stanley employees would need to take care of each other. From then on, Rick started doing things that to this day happen almost nowhere else. He started preparing for a terrorist attack according to the way the brain actually works. So he started running the entire company through frequent, surprise, mandatory fire drills in which you had to actually go down some stairs. That's like a radical concept, right? I mean... And I would argue that unless all those adjectives are there, you're not really having a fire drill. Like you might as well just go do something more fun. So frequent, surprise, mandatory fire drills in which you have to get into the stairs. Some people here work for the government or the military and they might actually do that. Anyone do that, frequent, surprise, mandatory fire drills in which you have to get into the stairs? That's not bad. We got about, I don't know, a dozen people. Not only that, but he insisted that the highest floors evacuate first. This is somebody who understood how people operate. So when you go into a stairwell, it turns out that people tend to let the lower floors as they come into the stairwell go in front of them. They become, as I said, very courteous. And the problem with that is that the people who have the longest to go now have even longer to wait before they get down to the bottom. So he taught them not to do that. He also taught them that the roof would be locked so don't go to the roof. I mean, if you could be with me listening to a widow tell me about talking to her husband as he died because he had gone to the roof, you would know what a big deal that is. Such a simple thing. Rick also didn't care if he was popular, which is a great asset, isn't it? And his military training had taught him that the best way to get the brain to perform under extreme duress is to repeatedly run it through rehearsals beforehand. No mystery, just do it again and again and again and then you will do it better and better and better. And after the first few drills he decided that his employees weren't moving fast enough. So then he brought a stopwatch into the stairwell and told them they had to get faster. And what do you think happened? They got faster. What a concept! Finally, he recommended that Morgan, Stanley move into a headquarters-move its headquarters to a low-rise campus in New Jersey and the firms-the firm considered it but decided not to because the lease didn't end until 2006. On the morning of 9/11, Rick heard an explosion and saw Tower One, the other tower burning from his office window. A Port Authority official urged everyone to remain at their desk. Rick grabbed his bullhorn, his walkie-talkie, and his cell phone and began systematically ordering Morgan, Stanley employees to get out and they had already begun the evacuation. Rick also had a rule that any visitors had to be told where the stairs were on their first day. Do you know that half of the employees in the World Trade Center did not know the building had three stairwells? The 250 stockbrokers in training visiting Morgan, Stanley knew where the stairwell was because they had been shown it the day before. As one executive told me later, "Knowing where to go is the most important thing because your brain, at least mine, just shut down." When that happens, you need to know what to do next. One thing you never want to have to do is to have to think in a disaster." Rick had led soldiers through the night in the Viet Cong-controlled central highlands of Vietnam. He knew that sometimes when people are frightened, it helps to distract them. We know, if you've ever raised a toddler, how effective distraction can be. And that's something that doesn't entirely go away. So back in Vietnam he had sometimes calmed his men by singing Cornish songs from his youth. This is actually a picture of Rick from 9/11. He's gained a little weight. That's all right. And he's there with his-two of his security guys in the hallway and it got very warm and one of his security team members brought out a chair for him but he wouldn't sit down. And so he picked up his bullhorn and he started singing. Army Major Robert Bateman wrote about Rick's tendency to sing in Vietnam Magazine and he was talking about Vietnam but he could have been talking about the Trade Center. He wrote, "Mostly Rick sang dirty songs that would make a sailor blush. Interspersed with the lyrics was the voice of command. It was a voice straight from Waterloo. Impeccable. Impossible to disobey. His men forgot their fear, concentrated on his orders, and marched forward as he led them straight into the pages of history." So now in the crowded stairwell, as his sweat leeched through his suit jacket, Rick began to sing. As Rick directed people down the stairwell on the 44th floor, the second plane hit, this time hitting the tower that they were in, striking about 38 floors above their head. The building lunged violently and some Morgan, Stanley employees fell to the ground. "Stop," Rick ordered through the bullhorn. "Be still. Be silent. Be calm. Everything's going to be okay, he said. No one spoke or moved. Then he said something that he would say over and over that day, "Remember, you're Americans." Between songs Rick called his wife on his cell phone and she, of course, had been watching on TV. "Stop crying," he said. "I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I've never been happier. You made my life." Moments later Rick had successfully evacuated 2,687 Morgan, Stanley employees from high out of the tower. Then he turned around. He knew there were stragglers and everyone who knew Rick knew that he would have turned around. He was last seen on the 10th floor heading upward and his remains have never been found. When the tower collapsed not long afterwards, only 13 Morgan, Stanley employees, including Rick and four of the security officers, were inside. The other 2,687 were safe. So I like this story because Rick understood that we could do much better if we trusted regular people. So even in the face of what he believed to be an almost certain threat and even when he wasn't listened to by all of his superiors, he had great faith in the employees, in regular people. And he understood that what matters most of all is not a checklist, not that you have enough Band-Aids, but what matters is the mindset. This is one of those rare cases when I think a buzzword actually adds to the conversation, and I actually think the word "resilience" means something. And I think that Rick would agree. He understood that the brain is an asset if we train for how it actually works, if we write plans for how it actually works. He understood that people almost never panic, that the bigger problem is delay, disbelief, and deliberation if it's not productive. He understood that he needed to train people to push through those two phases quickly, wisely, appropriately, so they would not have to think. This is actually a statue that his wife and friends made for him after he died that is at the National Infantry Museum in Georgia. So I wanna leave time for questions here, and in case we don't get to it, that's my email. I always like to hear from people. I often get the most unbelievable stories. I mean, I never-I never do one of these things without someone telling me something fascinating and new. I mean, you just wouldn't believe the stories that are sitting around here. People come up to me, they're like, "You know what? That was just like the time I got carjacked." I'm like, "Wow, I had no idea" or, you know, this quiet guy will come up and say, "You know what? It reminds me of when I was in Iraq." And somebody else will say, "You know, I was in an earthquake in Peru when I was a kid." And everyone's got a story. So I tacked on, because I have a little time here, some extra bonus slides to make this point, cause I think you are-this crowd in particular might understand the value of stories. So ready.gov, right, we're all familiar with this? And there's a checklist of things that you should have if you evacuate and it's very top-down, right? It's like you need food, you need water, you need it. And I think there are better ways to have that conversation because right now I will tell you this is my job and when I look at that thing, I wanna cry. Like I could not be more bored. So with... I know people are working hard on it and I have great respect for them, but it is so boring. I'm sorry. Like, really... What people... How the brain works is by storytelling. Right? Storytelling. Since the beginning of time, storytelling. So The Times Pic-New Orleans Times Picayune, a year after Katrina, asked its readers what they wished they had brought with them. What a great idea! And people wrote in. What if we had a list that was designed by these guys? I mean, we have millions of evacuation experts in this country at this point. Because of the way we live, it is now part of the American experience. So why don't we leverage that experience? Why doesn't ready.gov have a list with a picture next to it of the person who evacuated and said, "You need to bring Ziploc bags, because it turns out, we know, right, disasters are getting more frequent and more expensive in this country and it's almost entirely due to wind and weather and water events, right? And when water is around, a Ziploc bag is extremely helpful because water will just ruin everything. So if you can put your documents in a Ziploc bag, you know, you're very grateful all of a sudden for Ziploc bags. Another one that they came up with, "My own pillow." It turns out just having one thing, if you're at a hotel or a shelter or, god forbid, your Aunt Edith's house, just having one thing that's yours can give you a little more tolerance to put up with a little more BS the next day. So that makes a big difference. And while I think it's great to have whatever, ipecac syrup or whatever is on the FEMA list... No, I'm just kidding. I think it is. There's some whacky stuff on there. I think this is better. Treat people like they're smart and they will be. But if you give them a list that says "food, water," I mean, come on! Seriously? "Bring the kids' immunization records. Put em in a Ziploc bag. Wish I had done that. Very... Really glad we had a battery-powered radio but you know what would have been awesome? Battery-powered CNN." Having been a reporter in New Orleans I can tell you that that-you know, that would have been really helpful because that's what you crave, is you crave information. And, like it or not, TV's got the best information relatively speaking. Cat litter. Should have brought cat litter. Turns out when there's no running water and sewage is all screwed up, you need something. This would help. Earplugs. Again, if you can't sleep, then your tolerance goes down and it's hard to put up with another forum and another problem. And my personal favorite... [LAUGHTER] Right? It's a good one. And, you know, there were dozens and dozens of ideas that people had. And then I blogged about it on my Web site and I got more comments than I ever got on anything cause people would write and say, "Oh, you know what? I wish-I also wanna add this to the list." Now that's a conversation, right? That's if you have a Nation of survivors. So what a good idea, just putting that out there. Maybe it could be a video clip, cause I know people in communications in the government now are all like fired up about Twitter and YouTube, and everyone's gotta do it and we don't what it all adds up to but you gotta do it. Well, let's use it for something like this. If we have a video of some woman in her house with her dog and she's talking about how she wished she brought, you know, her medicine for her dog, that is much more engaging than a list that says, you know, first aid cream. So I'm gonna stop taking cheap shots and thank you all for listening to me. Thank you very much.