Tag: survival

Our first blog on "Women and Children First" elicited a fair amount of comment on various discussion sites. 

 

A major part of the discussion centered on the Birkenhead disaster. The Birkenhead disaster is considered to be the first application, or even the invention, of the "Women and Children First" concept.

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Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson of Uppsala University recently performed an interesting analysis of survival rates in a large number of major ship disasters ranging over a period of over 150 years. They were interested in determining whether the old adage "Woman and Children First" actually occurred in such disasters.

 

While many of their conclusions are statistically very dubious, their data indicates that women and children survival rates actually are substantially lower than men and crew in major shipping disasters.

 

The most significant exception is the Titanic where a much higher percentage of women and children did survive. This study was a statistical analysis, and while the numbers do support their findings, each disaster is unique and there may have been factors that would have resulted in lower women and children survival rates even if there was an intent to allow the women and children to enter the life boat first. Some of these disasters may have been so confusing that the order was never heard, others may have developed too quickly for any type of abandonment order to have taken place. And when panic develops, "Woman and Children First" (or any other type of group objective) is simply abandoned in the quest for individual survival.

 

However, quite possibly, Messrs. Elinder and Erixson's analysis just sheds light read more »