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Old 09-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #1
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Default Weight and its effect on safety...contains sensitive material related to 9/11

The follow may have some sensitive material related the 9/11:

I watched a show last night about 9/11. It followed the heroic efforts of 2 men on the 88th floor of the South Tower that helped nearly 100 people get to the C stair case to exit the building. One of the group of people were on the 89th floor, and I think the highest group to make it out. They included a secretary, that was having difficultly getting down the stairs. They said she had asthma and a coworkers said she was "heavy", but it seemed that this surviving coworker did not want to harshly describe the secretary's weight, but perhaps the woman was very big. The reinactment model was more than heavy, she was morbidly obese. As the group went down the stairs, the woman fell behind but two coworkers stayed with her, but she had to keep stopping. They lost the group, the stair well was empty. During this time the North Tower collasped. The secretary and the coworkers were met by firefighters that told the coworkers to get out now ( they were on the 12 floor by this point) and the firefighters said they'd carry the secretary out. The coworkers took off down the steps, made it out and survived. They were interviewed for this program. However the secretary and firefighters did not make it out before the building collapsed.

This has been haunting me, that perhaps her weight rather than her asthma played the role in why she could not make it down 89 flights in time. Maybe just a combination of the two. I realize that all the smoke would have been very problematic for an asthmatic, but then why mention her weight, why get such a large woman for the reinactment? I know she could not have been the only obese woman decending those stairs but she was in the only group coming from so high up. Had she been on the 10th floor, or even 60th, she would have made it. She made it to the 12th floor, and even from there, her coworkers that had stayed w/ her till that point made it out by hurrying down the steps.

This upsets me so much, because I imagine her being one of my loved ones. My DH is morbidly obese, so is my aunt. I love them both and this would be heartbreaking, to know they spent their last hour in such a frightening situation, lost from the group, unable to save themselves because of their weight. And who would ever imagine this would happen? I tried to find comfort in the fact that at the end this women may have felt some safety in the firefighters presence. I don't even know her and my heart breaks for her.

I'm sorry if I sound overly dramatic.

On a personal note, this kind of made me scared to be out of shape, as silly as it sounds. I thought, what if I have to run away from some one? What if I need to run to my kids? What if my ability to do this makes or breaks whether I can save myself or my kids?


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Old 09-08-2013, 01:21 PM   #2
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I think this is certainly a valid concern, and something that I myself think about quite often. When I was heavier, and very much out of shape, I could barely run 1/3 of a mile without having to stop. And yet, I could see a number of situations where being able to run would be very important for safety's sake. I work in a less-than-stellar area, and I am constantly on guard. What if I have to run? What if I have to fight? I took boxing lessons for a while (EXCELLENT exercise regimine btw) and I routinely lift weights, in the hopes that I might be able to protect myself if need be.

There are a lot of real-life, functional reasons to be fit. And it's scary, when I think of people in my own life, who could be in danger because of their inability to physically react in emergency situations.
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:54 PM   #3
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The need to be fit to protect myself is one of the big reasons that I started my journey. I think I realised one day while watching a film, the character was fleeing for whatever reason and I remember thinking- I could never do that. It scares me, whether or not I'd be able to run from danger. I just hope I'm getting fitter and more able. Really makes you think!

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Old 09-08-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
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It's possible she lost her life due to her inability to get down the stairs in time. But you don't know for sure and considering how many people didn't get out in time I think it's pointless to even thing about why she didn't get out. She may have hit an obstacle in her way, she may have stopped to help someone else, she may have been overcome with fumes.

Obesity does play a role in safety, it goes without saying. We can't run as fast or as long, are not as flexible or agile, have aching joints and might have other health problems that prevent us from moving comfortably. I think about it every time my kids run around in the park and I think to myself what if he runs off somewhere and I can't get to him quickly?

This is one of the reasons that national security is threatened, less people are able to pass fitness tests to enter the military or the police department or the fire department. And those who do pass have to continue to pass fitness tests.

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Old 09-08-2013, 07:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
It's possible she lost her life due to her inability to get down the stairs in time. But you don't know for sure and considering how many people didn't get out in time I think it's pointless to even thing about why she didn't get out. She may have hit an obstacle in her way, she may have stopped to help someone else, she may have been overcome with fumes.

I just wanted to clarify that the program made it very clear that is was her weight and asthma that prevented her from getting out. The coworkers that stayed with her until the firefighters got there were interviewed. She was "soaked with sweat" and they accounted how it was too physically demanding fer her. They did specifically mention asthma and her weight.

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Old 09-08-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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It is true - besides just the health hazards of obesity - there are safety issues.

I think about that for myself sometimes ... Beyond just the physical fit issues (cause I am actually in good physical shape - I definitely can outrun, out exercise many of my thin counterparts), there are times when your size could impede other things.

Could a fireman carry me out of a burning building if he/she had to (lets say the people in the building passed out due to smoke/no escape)? Some could, but some probably couldn't.

Can the ambulance gurney hold me? Is it big enough? Could someone rescue me from a car?

I think about this. I had surgery in January, and in the OR, I had to move myself from the gurney to the operating table myself before the started the drip. After surgery, I was back on the gurney and in the recovery room with no memory. That means that the hospital people must have lifted me from the operating table to the gurney. And sometimes I am mortified to think that it probably took them extra effort from most people ..... I know that sounds silly.

But for sure, I think being overweight is dangerous in many different ways - including many issues of safety. Lets use this as inspiration on our path to health!
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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These are the kinds of things I tried not to think about at my highest weight. I have asthma, and I've found that the more weight I lose, the more under control it is. When I was at 360 pounds, I could barely walk across the room, and attempting to do so in fact sent me to the ER a few times. I can't even imagine having to race down even one flight of stairs for my life at a time when I couldn't even make it to my old apartment elevator!

Part of my current motivation to lose weight is for strength and endurance. I'm still extremely proud that I went from weighing 360 pounds and barely being able to walk, to a 150 pound loss and being able to run half a mile non-stop (I will be working on all of the above more once I'm done with my pregnancy). I also haven't needed to use my inhaler in over a year.

While unrelated, this thread makes me think of my reaction to the man in the Boston Marathon that lost his legs (the photos were very graphic). Seeing what happened to him made me appreciate what I have to work with all the more. I should never take my legs for granted, not should I ever take the opportunity to better myself for granted.

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