When I started to write I was planning to write about a topic near to my heart, creativity and Creative IQ, which I wrote about on my personal blog.
As I was thinking about the topic of lifelong learning another topic came to mind, Disaster and Emergency Planning. In my next book, Tips and Traps for Writing an Effective Business Plan (in stores this winter) I devoted an entire chapter to the Disaster and Emergency Planning.
I sensed that the best contribution I could make to this Lifelong Learning Forum would be to write about this topic, especially in light of the fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in New York are just five days away from the publication of this article.
The catalyst for writing this article was a documentary I saw on A&E interviewing survivors and engineers. Two things stood out in the A&E documentary. First, an engineer stated that they need to study fire and come to a better understanding of the structural engineering and the effects of fire on these types of buildings.
Second, I was struck by the image of the chief engineer of the Word Trade Center, in the interview this man appeared old beyond his time. He had large bags under his eyes and the quote that A&E chose to use of his interview was, "I could have done a better job designing that building." I cannot imagine the burden he carries and my heart went out to him. Then I remembered something I read about Thomas Edison in the book, Uncommon Friends – Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh.
At the age of 67 Thomas Edison had to start over. His main laboratory burned to the ground. In the book Edison states that they "under-insured the building because we believed it to be fireproof." Fortunately, Henry Ford was his neighbor in Florida and when Henry heard of the news he came to Edisons’ aid with a check for $750,000 and said, "If you need more just ask."
Where would Edison be had it not been for Henry Ford? I am sure he would have made out all right but certainly $750,000 changed his life. Edison later repaid Ford with interest despite Ford’s objections. Let’s get back to the topic at hand, Disaster and Emergency Planning.