More from report of the 7 July bombing response report. See previous post.
Tim O’Toole, the Managing Director of London Underground is quoted in the report as saying a year before the event that “the big lesson for us is to invest in staff, rely on them; invest in technology but do not rely on it.”
I think this is an excellent insight. Equally it is interesting the report, having made this point, then talks at great length about having additional technology in preparation for such an event in the future. In particular, there were major problems with communication because mobile phone systems were overloaded and because emergency services could not communicate underground. I totally agree these were major weaknesses, but it seems likely that we need our emergency plans to work when technology is not available, and to use the technology when it is available to assist.
An interesting point is made about the ambulance service. They are now issuing key staff with pagers again. They had stopped doing this a couple of years ago because it appears that mobile phones do a better job. We are all starting to expect mobile phones to work reliably, but that can never be guaranteed with any technology.