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Falling with all the luggage

Di Antonio Caneva, 27 Gennaio 2012

As soon as we have seated ourselves aboard an airplane, the first nuisance is the impersonal voice that announces the explanation of the safety instructions; What a bore! We’ve hardly had time to relax, and they already bother us with trifles!
When we are aboard a cruise ship, we have to devote a part of the first day – which we would rather use to familiarise with the ship – to convening on the meeting deck in order to be instructed about those irritating emergency procedures, even a little childish, with their whistles and the how to locate the lifeboats.
I can assure you that after the Costa Concordia I will listen very carefully to the explanation of emergency procedures; when they tell me that, in case of need, certain lights will switch on aboard the aircraft to show the way out, I will try to memorise the information; when they explain to me that, on a ship, seven short whistles and one long are a signal of danger, I will no longer think of the whistle blown by a football referee. Sadly, it has taken a disaster to make us aware of the possibility of danger.
Of course, tragedies (fortunately) do not happen every day, but, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in his book The Black Swan: “If you know all possible conditions of a physical system you can, in theory (though not in practice), project its behaviour into the future. But this only concerns inanimate objects. It is another matter to project a future when humans are involved, if you consider them living beings and endowed with free will”.
For those who run businesses that attract people who are often not informed about the local safety dynamics, it is essential to pay special attention to the risks involved; in another page of the magazine, Dennis Zambon, a keen and conscientious person, talks to us about safety and, among other things, writes: “If we don’t do it yet, let’s start considering safety as a factor of success and excellence in service for our hotels: our guests will perceive it. They come to us and enter our rooms in the conviction they will sleep in a safe place. Let’s not betray their trust. This is why safety must be part of our and our co-workers’ culture, not just a bureaucratic requirement and a pain in the neck”.
Those who are at the head of a public facility, whether a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, discothèque, ship, airplane, playground or other, need to feel a great sense of responsibility; this does not always happen, as was pointed out by David Letterman in his show, when he said ironically that the Italian ship was “headed by a captain who, among the first to be off the ship, fell into the lifeboat, and fell… with all his luggage!”

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