I want to commune with the dead
September 3, 2009 6:22 PM   Subscribe

What are some good official sources for post-catastrophe, post-accident, or post-emergency reporting?

In Laurence Gonzales' Deep Survival he writes the following:
Commune with the Dead. If you could collect the dead around you and sit by the campfire and listen to their tales, you might find yourself in the best survival school of all. Since you can't, read the accident reports in your chosen field of recreation. Accidents in North American Mountaineering; the National Speleological Society's newsletter; River Safety Report; and numerous other publications (such as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) and Web sites not only provide reading that is by turns gripping, hilarious, and heart-wrenching, but also tell you the mistakes other people have made. Then you can be on the lookout for similar situations and perhaps avoid them. (Wasn't this the cave where those scuba divers drowned ...?)
What are some other similar official reporting in this area? Thanks.

Similar recent AskMeFi question.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I just finished reading that book a few months ago. And then last week I was in the public library looking through the filing cabinets and I came across a photocopied sort of report thing that discussed traffic fatalities in, I think, New Hampshire but it may have been just that region of New Hampshire. This web site has an approximation of what I saw, but it's not quite the same.

I know this isn't quite what you're referring to, since this is about mundane traffic but if you want to look at something that is more dangerous than people think and also where people die in totally avoidable ways [most were drunk, most were not wearing their seatbelts, iirc] this is the thing to read. Some Googling led me to the FARS Encyclopedia which is totally uninteresting and yet speaks to your question. I have a friend who reads the FAAs Accident and Incident Data including the report at the top of this page which talks about commercial aircraft fatalities. There are also Appalachian Trail Accidents and the Morning Report from the US National Parks service. I would love to know if there's one Distaster Central sort of place that collates these sort of dry official reports.
posted by jessamyn at 6:40 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: When I worked for the (US federal) government a few years ago, there was a program called "Lessons Learned" that the safety folks were talking about, where they compiled old accident reports and the like. Can't find the particular docs I saw, but a Google search for the phrase "lessons learned" looks quite promising.
posted by tellumo at 7:08 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: Friends of Yosar (Yosemite Search and Rescue) Recent Rescue Reports and Preventative Search and Rescue Reports (more in depth write-ups of some incidents)

OSHA Fatal Facts
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:43 PM on September 3, 2009

Best answer: More in aviation: Aviation is full of things like this.
posted by tss at 6:32 AM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all for the links. The Yosemite search and rescue one has some awesome stories.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 3:19 AM on September 11, 2009

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