Posted: November 29th, 2022
Based on the assigned listening this week:
Would you fire the man who dropped the socket in Damascus, AR in 1980? Would you do more? Why?
What are your thoughts on the outcome of the disaster?
agree or disagree with peer responses below? Respond to each response
Peer 1 KS
Not only would I fire the man who dropped the socket, but I would also pursue negligent homicide charges based on him and his partner attempting to coverup the initial mistake in order to avoid any type of discipline and their mistake resulting in a casualty and numerous life-threatening injuries. I would also conduct a full review of the entire process from staff training to equipment and tool check processes for entry into and removal from the station. In the Florida prison system, there is a procedure requiring maintenance staff to provide a list of all tools down to a drill bit or socket, which is reviewed and signed off on by a security staff member, laying eyes on every listed item on the way in and out. I can’t fathom a nuclear arsenal silo not having a similar process in place during which, the missing torque wrench would have been discovered before the staff made it all the way up the silo, not wanting to make the trip back down and up again for a tool which they thought could be replaced with another.
If following modern ICS and emergency management requirements, a lot more lives would have been lost which can be concerning. Lieutenant Allan Childers believed the base to be safe and wished to remain inside, while Colonel John Moser (stationed at Little Rock Air Force base, approximately 50 miles from the silo) ordered an evacuation of the site. Today’s ICS requirements assign the highest-ranking individual present on scene as the incident commander which I believe would have been Lieutenant Childers based on the way he speaks of the incident and his thought process and actions, meaning Lt. Childers would have kept his staff inside the base, killing far more than the single casualty which occurred the following morning.
The incident could have been far more devastating had different decisions been made or if more safeguards had failed causing the nuclear warhead to detonate, but it could have also resolved without any injuries and casualties had there been more thought put into the actions taken. For instance, with such volatile fumes inside the silo, anybody with basic understanding of electricity and electrical motors would have known that starting up an electric motor (fan) would have created sparks, static electricity and ultimately an explosion. The base was already evacuated, there was no reason why the officials couldn’t wait for the fumes to naturally dissipate, only a slightly slower process than turning on exhaust fans.
Peer 2 Kj
I would fire both individuals who were working on the socket in Damascus, AR. Plumb and Powell were both careless in regards to the safety concerns of the job. The two people were so eager to engage with other activities, to where they were careless to provide the expected routine in their work. As the two individuals continued to act confused towards the warnings and sirens as if they were not aware of the situation at hand. There were specified protocols at hand that could have prevented the situations. Everyone is aware that human error does happen, things do go wrong. If it was possible for Plumb or Powell to own up to what had happened, there could have been no fatalities at all during the situation. Plumb should have been discharged from the Air Force for his negligence and being an accomplice to Powell’s cover-up situation. Powell should have gone to jail for involuntary manslaughter. He killed his close friend due to his own error and lie. Powell and Plumb would have also killed many more individuals if the warhead would have exploded. Sending the individuals to jail would be justifiable in regards to the life being taken and the damage done because of their negligence and false statements.
My thoughts on the outcome of the disaster is seeing how the situation could have been prevented possibly. I am not familiar with nuclear warheads but I feel that there could have been a preventive measure taken if there was advanced notice. Taking the preventive measures to ensure that nothing goes wrong would have helped everyone such as using the correct tools, it was all human error. There could have been a better plan for an escape route. One person could have utilized the control room while the others did the work and prevented the minimal damage possible. One mistake that I think was made was having the individuals going back into the area when it should have been evacuated.
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