Saturday, 10 September 2005

X on the houses hit by Katrina

I have watched the news reports over and over about the search efforts in areas hit by hurricane Katrina and wondered what the cross meant that is drawn on the door posts and then the subsequent notes written.

After a good deal of searching I have downloaded from FEMA the CERT Instructor Guide: Unit 5: Light Search and Rescue Operations. In there it says:

Make a single diagonal slash next to the door just before entering a structure. Make an opposite slash (creating an "X") when all occupants have been removed and search and rescue efforts have been completed. The "X" signals to other potential searchers that the area has already been searched. This method:

• Indicates rescuer location.
• Prevents duplication of effort.

This still doesn't answer what is written in each of those quadrants of the cross, so I used some of the description as a search term and came up with: Peninsula Cert Light Search & Rescue Procedures which clarifies:

6.Mark Searched Areas. Marking searched areas prevents duplication efforts and identifies where rescuers are and have been. Make a single diagonal slash on or next to the door just before entering. Make an opposite slash, (creating an "X"), when all occupants have been removed and the search of that area is finished, the four quadrants of the "X" can be used to indicate the initials of the searcher (left quadrant), the time/date of the search, (top quadrant), personal hazards, (right quadrant), and the number of victims still inside, (bottom quadrant). Use a zero if no victims are found. Put a box around the "X" if it is not safe to conduct search and rescue efforts in the room or building.

Being a sad geek, as a result of these findings, I created the graphic above.

Original Comments:

Universal Soldier said...

I feel for those involved in the search operation. They must all feel fairly impotent in the face of what has happened. To feel that way and carry on the job must take a lot of integrity.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 4:37:00 PM

utenzi said...

They covered this topic on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. For part of the segment they followed some volunteers as they did a house-to-house. In what has been frequently occuring in New Orleans they gave an initial body count in the thousands--and this for an upscale neighborhood. Of course not a single body was found. Duh.

In a situation as horrible as this, there's no need to exaggerate numbers so why do they persist in doing so?

Michele sent me, Doris. Carry on!

Saturday, September 10, 2005 5:08:00 PM

scriblegurl said...

what happened in New Orleans is very sad

Saturday, September 10, 2005 5:56:00 PM

Astryngia said...

Thaks for the public service. I'm full of admiration for your use of technology - from the determined search to the very attractive visual demonstration!

Saturday, September 10, 2005 6:16:00 PM

Mama Mouse said...

That is quite lovely Doris .. and I especially like the turquoise X as it matches your background perfectly! I only wish that the actual product of the searchers was that neat. Of course writing with a can a spray paint can't be easy.

Yes .. they have downed the total dead numbers. I never thought that there would be ten THOUSAND dead! There were MANY of course ... but I do believe that the final tally won't even come near that figure!

They are now showing pictures of mutilated bodies ... supposedly mutilated after death ... that are being found in places like the Convention Center. The government is trying to stop the reporters going anywhere near bodies.

It is so sad.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 7:27:00 PM

zandperl said...

Wow, that's interesting. I'd heard they were putting X's on houses, sounded like the Biblical plagues to me, but I don't watch TV so I never saw the pictures of them. I also thankfully haven't seen that many pictures of bodies - I don't know whether because less pictures are making it to the news websites, or the reporters aren't seeing bodies, or they've seen them but tastefully aren't showing them.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:02:00 PM

ribbiticus said...

thanks for that, doris! so many have perished and it is heartwarming to see people as far away as yourself trying to do what they can to help. came by way of michele. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:56:00 PM

Pookie65 said...

Thanks for taking the time to research this and for posting it. I had no clue about the procedure prior to reading your post. It's still very hard to believe all of this has happened and it's tragic watching on the news how much worse the situation was than anyone could imagine.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:01:00 AM

zandperl said...

In case there's anyone else who hadn't seen the pictures of the marks, here's one and here's another. They both look like the "incomplete" marks you mentioned, I wonder if it's different from what you said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 2:02:00 AM

doris said...

Thanks for that Zandperl .... on the first link someone has now added a comment that then fits in with what I have found. However, I thought there may well be some regional difference in the way the markings were done and then the other night I was watching the news and it seemed that something other than date and time were being written in the top quadrant.

So it would be interesting to know in what other ways these marks are read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:13:00 AM

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