Published on October 5, 2007
Chase Safety and the Consequences of Irresponsible Chasing: Chase Safety and the Consequences of Irresponsible Chasing Dr. Charles Doswell CIMMS/OU & Doswell Scientific Consulting An email from “R.C.”: An email from “R.C.” It has been awhile since I have heard from you, oh but not to worrie I have had all storm chasers blocked from my mail this way I don,t have to read such vogar responces. According to a great deal of t.v. crews in which I haved contacted find your story to be full of dog do do as metioned in the subject. I don,t think the t.v. crews likes this page very much mr dowswell. I will be doing some chasing of my own in oklahoma this spring and be assured I will drive through open feilds and open property. When it comes to a tornado and comes to saving a life you have to do what you have to do. I have a freind that goes to your storm chasing meetings by the way, certain things that are said are repeated back to me. Be aware in your group you have a unkown freind of mine that tell,s off on you and jim, though jim is rarely in your area these days. That was a sorry deal about the t.v. crew getting arrested for driving through private feilds, also given the fact of the idiot you had owned the property was no more then a low-life do do head. By the way Jon Davis was guitly as hell! And again when I chase I will do donuts and do what it takes and I will plow through barnes if I have to when I chase....... Regards at least I don,t have to get a vogar responce form you this time around.....you and all the rest have been blocked from my mail........again don,t bother to respond the mail will never get back to me..................... A chaser spectrum: A chaser spectrum Outright crackpots like “R.C.” (need help none of us can provide) Irresponsible yahoos (beyond help) Danger seekers Those needing to draw attention to themselves Those willing to do anything to see a tornado Wannabes with the best of intentions Experienced, responsible chasers (don’t need any help) Responsibility: Responsibility To whom are chasers supposed to be responsible? The public Ourselves Other chasers The weather community What does it require?: What does it require? Avoiding dangerous and/or reckless behavior On the highways In and around storms Calling in storm reports, including negative reports Cell phone Amateur radio Requirements (cont’d): Requirements (cont’d) Avoiding any interference with emergency responders Being a positive representative for storm chasing Exemplary field behavior Thoughtful responses when interacting with the public media Negative chaser behavior: Negative chaser behavior Stupid risk-taking: Reckless driving Speeding, especially in traffic Failing to pull off the road when stopped Erratic behavior during chaser convergence Habitually taking chances with storms Core punching Putting yourself in the path of danger Engaging in a “Race to the crossing” Night chasing w/o radar Risks for the sake of $$ or “fame” Negative behavior (cont’d): Negative behavior (cont’d) Not calling in reports, when needed Giving the media opportunities to exploit you “I had to drive 100 mph to catch the tornado” “We almost died there!” Bragging about what you saw - “notches” in your gun Denigrating what someone else saw Negative behavior (cont’d): Negative behavior (cont’d) Hoping that other chasers fail - to the point of being happy when they do Being publicly excited about an event that may have injured or killed people and shattered their lives Forgetting that what we want to happen can have devastating effects Chaser Convergence: Chaser Convergence Long lines of chasers playing leapfrog Exacerbated by local “chasers” Can represent a significant problem for emergency responders It only takes a few, even isolated, cases of irresponsible actions to create a very negative impression Scientific chase teams: Scientific chase teams Not exempt from the need to be responsible Even if law enforcement has agreed to allow exemptions Should set the highest possible standards Media chase teams: Media chase teams Many seem to think they are above the law just by having a TV news team logo on their vehicle Many inexperienced chasers, giving out bad information Many wild exaggerations - “Anytown is about to be destroyed” Chase tour groups: Chase tour groups Including chase tours organized by universities for their students Tour leaders are responsible for the safety of their clients, and all others Taking stupid chasing risks Clients wandering about on the roadway Pulling completely off the roadway - closing vehicle doors Bad examples: Bad examples Consequences: Consequences Increasingly negative public image of chasers could lead to: Investigations by law enforcement and legislatures Arrests on various charges - negative media attention Legislation and regulation Banning of chasing other than for mandated teams (media and science) Consequences (cont’d): Consequences (cont’d) Personal exploitation by media Personal embarrassment Injuries and fatalities to chasers Put enough chasers in harm’s way … Injuries and fatalities to others Imagine living with this one … What can we do?: What can we do? Call attention to obviously irresponsible behavior Let irresponsible chasers know what you think about their actions Other ideas? From Gene Moore:: From Gene Moore: We the chase community will have to come up with ideas to help the situation and educate the public. We also need to set ourselves aside as trained and responsible individuals in the field, to help when needed and to stay out of the way the rest of the time.