The Department of Defense has them. The CIA has them. Yet, Homeland Security, FEMA and other emergency government departments seems to lack them. What are they? Good contingency plans. We obviously don’t have enough think tanks coming up with quality plans for emergencies that happen far too often in our imperfect world.
From Katrina to the Gulf Coast oil spill, you'd think we'd have smarter people running the show or at least advising those running the show. The Coast Guard or our police have to take up the slack for the lack of brain power and quality contingency plans that should be the focus of our leaders.
Take the oil spill. BP is taking responsibility for the oil spill, but why hasn't the government stopped the ongoing leak? Many say it will take weeks or months to stop the hemorrhaging. We can all see the satellite images of the oil continuing to flow from the drill site out into the Gulf. That is unacceptable.
It may not take a rocket scientist to take inventory and come up with a contingency plan. Take several existing booms in the field and surround the areas with the largest oil flows coming to the surface. Park a BP Suezmax or larger Oil Tanker off to the side of the boom and run a hose with a skimming float on one end and the other end into one of the Tanker’s oil holds. Run another hose from the bottom of the oil hold back into the boomed area.
Start pumping oil and sea water from the boomed area into the tank. Use another hose to pump sea water from the bottom of the tank back into the boomed area. Some estimate between 3,600 and 5,000 barrels of oil are flowing into the Gulf each day. With several pumps, they can pump 20,000 barrels of skimmed oil and sea water into the oil tanker while pumping 10,000 barrels of sea water back into the boomed area and it still would not fill the tanker in a month of pumping. This would take a few days to setup and should have been happening after they sunk the oil rig.
Engineering plans are always easier on paper than in the field, but as mentioned, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out. Yet if the emergency service leaders including the President pulled their heads out, they’d know that we have some of the best rocket scientists around and maybe they should hire some of them to make some quality contingency plans.