October 2, 2005 | Mark Paradies

FACTS Not Fiction

It seems that many of the decisions made during the days right after Hurricane Katrina were based on fiction. Or at least that is what the latest TV coverage implies.

I saw a report yesterday that claimed that the murders and rapes reported in New Orleans didn’t really happen.

Later I saw an official who claimed that 10 bodies had been recovered from the Superdome. He said, “As far as I know, none of them had been murdered.”

This didn’t sound like a fact to me. Had autopsies been performed? Was there a report from a medical examiner? Where did he get his “facts” about the 10 bodies? How do we know that there were not additional bodies disposed of by someone? WHO has good DATA about the crimes committed after Katrina hit and Federal Troops moved in to “restore” order (which presumes that order had been lost).

This made me think … If we based incident investigations on these kinds of “facts,” the results of our investigations would just be guesses based on rumors.

An investigator has to collect physical evidence, have verifiable witnesses, and be able to put together a credible SnapCharT(R) based on verified FACTS before you can progress to finding root causes and implementing corrective actions.

If we don’t have FACTS about the conditions in New Orleans after Katrina hit, we certainly aren’t ready to find root causes and implement corrective actions. If we start trying to fix things without facts, we are just guessing and hoping that what we do will help in the future.

I hope every TapRooT(R) user can learn from this common mistake being made by the press and government. Don’t jump to conclusions. Base your investigation on the foundation of fact and be assured that your root cause analysis is correct and your corrective actions will, therefore, be effective.

Root Cause Analysis
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