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September 11: Escaping the South Tower and a Framework of Surviving an Infrastructure Disaster

 September 11: Escaping the South Tower and a Framework of Surviving an Infrastructure Disaster

September 11 Escaping the South Tower and a Framework of Surviving an Infrastructure Disaster

In his house, Kevin Laub, a former employee of a financial services company that has been teaching English to high school students in Northern Virginia for almost 20 years, practically describes how he managed to escape the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. However, he is speaking to mid-career experts from several U.S. intelligence agencies and military services who are enrolled in a graduate course in infrastructure vulnerability assessment at the National Intelligence University, not to a classroom of high school kids (NIU). The course is offered through NIU's Homeland Security Intelligence certificate program as well as its master's degree in Science and Technology Intelligence.

Kevin Laub, who was a student teacher at the time, shared his experience with a class of juniors two years after September 11, 2001. These youngsters, many of whom had parents who worked at the Pentagon, were high school freshmen on that terrible day and were old enough to have known what was happening. Many of them openly sobbed as he talked about his experience since they had also had that day's events influence them. According to Kevin's student list, the final academic year of any student alive on that day was 2019, since the average age of his students decreased throughout time. Despite this, Kevin visits classes on or around the day of the anniversary of September 11 to relate his personal tale of evacuating the South Tower of students.

Kevin has spoken to NIU students for a number of years. The author of this essay, the course teacher, utilizes Kevin's story to highlight a crucial part of infrastructure vulnerability: the people who depend on it, use it, and maintain it, as well as those who must survive it should things go wrong. The author of this post considerably expands on Amanda Ripley's theory of survival as it is presented in her 2008 book, "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disasters Strikes - and Why," using Kevin's experience. [1] She refers to a "survival arc" that includes denial, thought, and choice. However, the author's skills and experience in the military, survival, human psychology, and infrastructure enlarged this "survival arc" to a more thorough nine-step survival bridge made up of Detect, Deny, Deduce, Debate, Decide, Do, Drive, Deliver, and Divulge.

Kevin, who was in his late 20s and had been working as a manager monitoring client accounts at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter for 5 years, in 2001. His business was one of the biggest financial services companies in the world at the time. The business was the largest tenant of the World Trade Center complex and had over 3,000 workers dispersed from the 59th to 74th floors of the South Tower. The South Tower, Kevin likes to point out, was the one without the "stick on it" or large antenna on the roof. The towers acted as a landmark for him as well as a point of departure. If he could locate the skyline's buildings, then it was easy for him to figure out where he was and how to proceed if turned around in the city.

Being able to work in the World Trade Center made Kevin, who adored New York City, especially happy. On East 92nd Street, Kevin lived alone in a small apartment with a roommate. Kevin chose to pick up the phone when his college ex-girlfriend Stacy called to talk to his flatmate a few days before September 11 since they were still close friends. Since their unhappy college breakup, Kevin and Stacy have not spoken to one another. At a veterans hospital in Washington, D.C., Stacy was completing her residency in psychiatry. When Kevin saw her phone number on the caller ID, a pang of wanting to talk with her came across him. Kevin made the choice to let the past aside and he answered the phone and the resulting conversation lasted over three hours. At the end of the call, they decided to be friends again.

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