Photo from Wikimedia

As I was writing the entry today about whether I should have left my office building when I felt the earthquake on Tuesday, it got me thinking back to an article I read somewhere a few years after 9/11 about following instincts in emergencies rather than the directions of people “in charge”.

Specifically, this made me think about the people who took the elevators down from the WTC towers instead of walking down the many, many flights of stairs to safety as the building burned above them. These people who decided to ride the elevators were saved while some of those who walked because they were told to do so by safety personnel perished. I couldn’t recall where exactly I had read that report, but this USA Today article from 2002 certainly echoes that sentiment. It’s kind of a long read but the amount of detail in the article from first-hand accounts makes it worthwhile. So many different outcomes occurred in the span of 16 1/2 minutes on that day (from the time of the first plane hitting to the 2nd plane hitting).