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Old 30 January 2011, 23:36
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Deep Survival

http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Survival-.../dp/0393052761

Anyone read it? I attended an airplane Emergency Procedure course this week and it was discussed in regards to how the brain works under intense stress.
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Old 31 January 2011, 00:47
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How the brain responds to stress has everything to do with how much reaction time is available to address the situation and how long the stressful situation goes on when there is no way to address the situation.

Consider and compare the actions of the Chernobyl-4 personnel as they tried to rescue their friends following the explosion versus the actions of personnel trapped in the turbine room of the sunken submarine Kursk as they waited for a rescue that they already knew was improbable at best.
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Old 31 January 2011, 01:30
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I read the paperback copy twice just over five years ago. It offers a number of very interesting, and different stories of survival in extreme conditions. And in each case goes in-depth as to how and why - that person survived.

In many cases, it is a mix of the will to live, plus the human body doing what would be considered extraordinary.

IMO, it was a good read, and for the price, a very good purchase.
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Old 25 April 2011, 00:18
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great book!
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Old 25 April 2011, 00:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1/ss nuke View Post
How the brain responds to stress has everything to do with how much reaction time is available to address the situation and how long the stressful situation goes on when there is no way to address the situation.

Consider and compare the actions of the Chernobyl-4 personnel as they tried to rescue their friends following the explosion versus the actions of personnel trapped in the turbine room of the sunken submarine Kursk as they waited for a rescue that they already knew was improbable at best.
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this, whether it's in this thread or a new one.

Last edited by hawkdrver; 25 April 2011 at 00:27.
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Old 25 April 2011, 11:02
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Very good book. To fully appreciate the information though, you need to read it a few times.

I am actually using the principles talked about to train my guys. I instruct Rapid Intervention and firefighter safety for my dept. and the theory of when things go bad, they go bad quick, often applies to us.

Be safe,
BK
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Old 26 April 2011, 20:53
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Outstanding book! I concur too that it needs to be read multiple times to get maximum benefit. I've read it at least a dozen times and pick up something new each time.
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Old 26 April 2011, 21:02
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Just bought it and will let you know what I think. Thanks!
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Old 3 October 2011, 11:40
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Just read this book very good read!
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Old 15 October 2011, 04:59
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Just finished it. Had some pretty good/interesting stories in it. Having been to SERE (not sear, cross thread points) most if not all of the learning points I've heard before.

I got tired of him talking about how cool his dad was, but he did fall 27,000' out of the sky, live, and then when a farmer went to shoot him his pistol wouldn't fire. That is pretty freakin' amazing. All I can sumize is that when it's your time it's your time.
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Old 24 October 2011, 15:19
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Last night after I registered here and was waiting for my account to be approved I started looking around the forum and found the book recommendation section. I had heard of this book before but I never read it. I started reading this book last night and I'm a little over 100 pages into it. Fascinating book. It is a lot more about neuroscience than I thought, but I'm finding the information fairly easy to comprehend and very interesting to say the least. Granted, I've never been through SERE training or even to a Survival school before, so as others have pointed out, it may be fairly redundant to some of the people here.
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Old 20 August 2016, 00:56
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Originally Posted by hawkdrver View Post
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this, whether it's in this thread or a new one.
I apologize for taking so long to fulfill your request.

At Chernobyl-4, for over an hour prior to the explosion the control room crew had been tense, on edge, and arguing with one another over, so the atmosphere for decision making was already poisoned before the catastrophe. When it came, the control room crew did not grasp the magnitude of what had happened for a very long time after the explosion had occurred. The idea that the reactor could have exploded through the ceiling was not within their ability to imagine possibilities. While the turbine hall crew was doing their best to fight the fire there and pull survivors from the rubble, the control room crew continued trying to remotely manipulate control rods that were no longer in the reactor but were scattered throughout the building and across the roof. They continued trying to feed water to the reactor through pipes that no longer existed using pumps that had no power and were immersed in fire. As the fire spread and casualty reports cascaded one upon another, the control room crew continued to attempt to follow the proper procedures for each of those individual emergencies as if they had happened independently during non-crisis operations. As they perceived themselves getting further and further behind the curve of keeping up with events, they grew more and more stressed, resulting in them becoming more and more fixated on the problem of cooling the non-existent reactor core to prevent an explosion that had already occurred. When all power and communications to the control finally failed and the uselessness of being there suddenly occurred to the operators there, two of them climbed down to the ground and walked around the building among graphite blocks and fuel tubes ejected from the core, yet still did not realize that the core was gone regardless of what they were actively stepping around; two others waded through chest-deep radioactive coolant to try to open a jammed valve to provide cooling water to the reactor, not making the connection that the pipe was empty and they were standing in hot water. The stress of everything going to heck in a hand basket all at once befuddled them into an extreme case of tunnel vision that lasted long after a cool consideration of their surroundings should have allowed.

When the torpedo room of the Kursk blew up, everyone in the forward compartments was probably killed within a very few moments without the ability to do anything about anything. However, the forward bulkhead of the reactor compartment protected the compartments farther aft. The surviving crew there acted quickly to manually blow the aft ballast tanks, but the fully flooded forward half of the boat was too much weight to overcome. The reactor shut down either due to the initial explosion or due to impact with the seabed, and the ship's battery was farther forward and already obliterated, so all electrical power was gone in a matter of no more than a few minutes as the turbines wound down, leaving only flashlights and undependable battle lanterns. They were too deep in water too cold to survive a free ascent from the aft escape trunk. They had neither power nor air pressure sufficient to get the wreck of their boat off the bottom and no way to get more of either. They kept their wits and organized their available supplies to await a rescue through the aft escape trunk while trying to use percussion signals to help anyone searching for them. As the flashlight batteries faded, the crew continued actively managing their situation until seepage through the leaking propeller shaft seals finally raised the ambient air pressure too high for a rescue to be possible. At that point, the crew turned their attention to recording what had happened as well as final messages to their loved ones. The crew were still doing their best to survive under impossible conditions until a lithium hydroxide canister was accidentally dropped into the water. The instantaneous flash fire consumed all their remaining oxygen.

The concept is that the Chernobyl control room crew were instantly overwhelmed by events, but things progressively got worse and worse as they flailed ineffectively, resulting in a mixture of tunnel vision and denial that not only prevented them from doing anything useful but even induced them into obliviously doing suicidal things. On the other hand, the situation aboard the aft compartments of Kursk never gave the survivors the illusion of having any way of fixing it. While the problem was immense, new problems only piled on slowly thereafter and were chronic instead of catastrophic, so the crew had time to sit down and think things through before acting. They busied themselves with what they could do even after they knew that all hope was futile.

In both cases, highly trained professionals were faced with an impossible situation they could not rectify. The pre-existing stress in the Chernobyl control room combined with the cascading problems to make those personnel counterproductive for an extended period of time. The lack of that pre-incident stress in the Kursk turbine room along with the time to absorb and reflect combined to make those personnel sufficiently productive that a quicker response by the Northern Fleet could have found them alive and well instead of burned or suffocated.
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"I agree that his intentions are suspect, and that he likely needs to die...." - SOTB

"Just a lone patriot acting alone at a fulcrum point, ideally in a deniable fashion. A perpetrator of accidents." - Magician
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Old 20 August 2016, 09:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1/ss nuke View Post
I apologize for taking so long to fulfill your request.

At Chernobyl-4, for over an hour prior to the explosion the control room crew had been tense, on edge, and arguing with one another over, so the atmosphere for decision making was already poisoned before the catastrophe. When it came, the control room crew did not grasp the magnitude of what had happened for a very long time after the explosion had occurred. The idea that the reactor could have exploded through the ceiling was not within their ability to imagine possibilities. While the turbine hall crew was doing their best to fight the fire there and pull survivors from the rubble, the control room crew continued trying to remotely manipulate control rods that were no longer in the reactor but were scattered throughout the building and across the roof. They continued trying to feed water to the reactor through pipes that no longer existed using pumps that had no power and were immersed in fire. As the fire spread and casualty reports cascaded one upon another, the control room crew continued to attempt to follow the proper procedures for each of those individual emergencies as if they had happened independently during non-crisis operations. As they perceived themselves getting further and further behind the curve of keeping up with events, they grew more and more stressed, resulting in them becoming more and more fixated on the problem of cooling the non-existent reactor core to prevent an explosion that had already occurred. When all power and communications to the control finally failed and the uselessness of being there suddenly occurred to the operators there, two of them climbed down to the ground and walked around the building among graphite blocks and fuel tubes ejected from the core, yet still did not realize that the core was gone regardless of what they were actively stepping around; two others waded through chest-deep radioactive coolant to try to open a jammed valve to provide cooling water to the reactor, not making the connection that the pipe was empty and they were standing in hot water. The stress of everything going to heck in a hand basket all at once befuddled them into an extreme case of tunnel vision that lasted long after a cool consideration of their surroundings should have allowed.

When the torpedo room of the Kursk blew up, everyone in the forward compartments was probably killed within a very few moments without the ability to do anything about anything. However, the forward bulkhead of the reactor compartment protected the compartments farther aft. The surviving crew there acted quickly to manually blow the aft ballast tanks, but the fully flooded forward half of the boat was too much weight to overcome. The reactor shut down either due to the initial explosion or due to impact with the seabed, and the ship's battery was farther forward and already obliterated, so all electrical power was gone in a matter of no more than a few minutes as the turbines wound down, leaving only flashlights and undependable battle lanterns. They were too deep in water too cold to survive a free ascent from the aft escape trunk. They had neither power nor air pressure sufficient to get the wreck of their boat off the bottom and no way to get more of either. They kept their wits and organized their available supplies to await a rescue through the aft escape trunk while trying to use percussion signals to help anyone searching for them. As the flashlight batteries faded, the crew continued actively managing their situation until seepage through the leaking propeller shaft seals finally raised the ambient air pressure too high for a rescue to be possible. At that point, the crew turned their attention to recording what had happened as well as final messages to their loved ones. The crew were still doing their best to survive under impossible conditions until a lithium hydroxide canister was accidentally dropped into the water. The instantaneous flash fire consumed all their remaining oxygen.

The concept is that the Chernobyl control room crew were instantly overwhelmed by events, but things progressively got worse and worse as they flailed ineffectively, resulting in a mixture of tunnel vision and denial that not only prevented them from doing anything useful but even induced them into obliviously doing suicidal things. On the other hand, the situation aboard the aft compartments of Kursk never gave the survivors the illusion of having any way of fixing it. While the problem was immense, new problems only piled on slowly thereafter and were chronic instead of catastrophic, so the crew had time to sit down and think things through before acting. They busied themselves with what they could do even after they knew that all hope was futile.

In both cases, highly trained professionals were faced with an impossible situation they could not rectify. The pre-existing stress in the Chernobyl control room combined with the cascading problems to make those personnel counterproductive for an extended period of time. The lack of that pre-incident stress in the Kursk turbine room along with the time to absorb and reflect combined to make those personnel sufficiently productive that a quicker response by the Northern Fleet could have found them alive and well instead of burned or suffocated.

Great post. Might I add that I would guess that the cultural difference between the types of people who worked at Chernobyl and the Sailors on the Kursk was probably a major factor of their different reactions to the situations. My guess would be that the Sub crew was far more disciplined and had a more generalist mindset that would allow them to better troubleshoot and solve problems on the fly than the folks at Chernobyl.

My other guess would be that the Chernobyl folks were much more married to their checklists and not accustomed to fixing much more than minor issues via those checklists. So, when the worst happened, they were not mentally prepared to deal with it.
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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
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Old 20 August 2016, 11:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
I would guess that the cultural difference between the types of people who worked at Chernobyl and the Sailors on the Kursk was probably a major factor of their different reactions to the situations. My guess would be that the Sub crew was far more disciplined and had a more generalist mindset that would allow them to better troubleshoot and solve problems on the fly than the folks at Chernobyl.

My other guess would be that the Chernobyl folks were much more married to their checklists and not accustomed to fixing much more than minor issues via those checklists. So, when the worst happened, they were not mentally prepared to deal with it.
Concur on both points.
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"I agree that his intentions are suspect, and that he likely needs to die...." - SOTB

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Old 20 August 2016, 12:42
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Originally Posted by ET1/ss nuke View Post
I apologize for taking so long to fulfill your request.
It was worth the wait. I've read a fair amount on both Chernobyl and the Kursk, and most of that was new information to me.

As a pilot, and even more so as a rescue pilot, this subject has always been fascinating to me. The Kursk story in particular really hits home. It reminds me in a lot of ways of the Sioux City United Airlines DC-10 crash -- giving up is not really an option, you just keep swinging until you're out of ideas.

On the rescue side, I've seen the entire gamut, from a guy who literally gave up and was waiting to die with his camp less than a mile away and an operational ATV sitting right next to him, to a guy we picked up in the middle of winter in AK who had walked 20 miles in hip deep snow toward town from his crash site and refused our offer of food because he had just eaten a porcupine and was full. I've given quite a bit of thought over the years to what was different in how these guys were wired.

Great post, fascinating subject. Thanks ETSS.
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Old 20 August 2016, 13:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkdrver View Post
It was worth the wait. I've read a fair amount on both Chernobyl and the Kursk, and most of that was new information to me.

As a pilot, and even more so as a rescue pilot, this subject has always been fascinating to me. The Kursk story in particular really hits home. It reminds me in a lot of ways of the Sioux City United Airlines DC-10 crash -- giving up is not really an option, you just keep swinging until you're out of ideas.

On the rescue side, I've seen the entire gamut, from a guy who literally gave up and was waiting to die with his camp less than a mile away and an operational ATV sitting right next to him, to a guy we picked up in the middle of winter in AK who had walked 20 miles in hip deep snow toward town from his crash site and refused our offer of food because he had just eaten a porcupine and was full. I've given quite a bit of thought over the years to what was different in how these guys were wired.

Great post, fascinating subject. Thanks ETSS.


Sort of like people who get shot in a completely non-fatal location, no chance of it being fatal unless it's from infection, yet in their mind if they are shot they think they are going to die so they lay down and die. That has literally happened.

Then you have guys like Billy Waugh, who was shot eight times, regained consciousness, got up and E&E'ed out of enemy territory. Guys who just refuse to die.
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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
-Invictus
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  #17  
Old 20 August 2016, 14:56
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Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
Sort of like people who get shot in a completely non-fatal location, no chance of it being fatal unless it's from infection, yet in their mind if they are shot they think they are going to die so they lay down and die. That has literally happened.

Then you have guys like Billy Waugh, who was shot eight times, regained consciousness, got up and E&E'ed out of enemy territory. Guys who just refuse to die.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
Sort of like people who get shot in a completely non-fatal location, no chance of it being fatal unless it's from infection, yet in their mind if they are shot they think they are going to die so they lay down and die. That has literally happened.

Then you have guys like Billy Waugh, who was shot eight times, regained consciousness, got up and E&E'ed out of enemy territory. Guys who just refuse to die.

Two pretty frequent post mission discussion topics for us are a) amazement at how little it can take to kill someone or b) amazement at how much a person can survive.

It's been my experience that downrange, the overwhelming majority of the guys we pick up fall into the Billy Waugh side of the equation. I was not on that particular mission but this badass was joking with the crew on the ride back to Bastion. On another I can think of, a guy that had just lost a leg was asking whether that was enough for him to get a Pedro coin (it was). Many more similar.

Like you I believe the mental component is much bigger than most people give it credit for.
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  #18  
Old 30 August 2016, 08:25
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I lost steam about 1/2 way thru the book. I just got numb to the repetitive format - cite a cool emergency, offer a theory on the mindset, rinse and repeat. If anyone wants my copy, I'll be glad to keep it in the family.
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