Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bus evacuation halted 
From the Associated Press

Buses taking Hurricane Katrina victims far from the squalor of the Superdome stopped rolling early Saturday. As many as 5,000 people remained in the stadium and could be there until Sunday, according to the Texas Air National Guard.

Officials had hoped to evacuate the last of the crowd before dawn Saturday. Guard members said they were told only that the buses had stopped coming and to shut down the area where the vehicles were being loaded.

"We were rolling," Capt. Jean Clark said. "If the buses had kept coming, we would have this whole place cleaned out already or pretty close to it."

Don't know what that's about. But drivers gotta sleep sometime, and they're going to be exhausted. Remember, not only have they been driving for days, but they themselves are storm survivors, too, and had been up before that either evacuating or preparing their own homes and families.

Drivers cannot go 24 hours straight without substantially degrading passenger safety. Granted, there are times when you have to push a limit. And they already pushed it and then some. But I'll tell you this: If I had a driver on the road 16 hours straight without a break and he had an accident, and someone was killed, I'd probably get relieved of command, along with my first sergeant, and the support platoon leader and support platoon sergeant.

A responsible leader is going to look at the available drivers and say "alright lads, go down for a while. I'll see you at the lead bus with your next mission in six hours."

Splash, out,


Case in point

Yup. A solution is to fly in qualified bus drivers from other parts of the country. Obviously you can't do this in an army situation ("Sir the troops are tired - can I borrow a spare platoon?") but given that this is a civil disaster with the whole country ready to help, it is obviously an option. It's probably easier to bring in more drivers than more buses. Again, it's all about the force multipliers. Add it to the AAR. Also, in a flood zone, it might be worthwhile adding some (actually a lot) of 12 man inflatable assault boats and 30hp outboards to the TOE of LA Guard units that would not otherwise have them, in recogniton of their unique commitments in case of disaster. Hindsight again.
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