When we think of the holiday season, we often conjure up images of Rockwell-esque scenes of wintery tranquility. However, Old Saint Nicholas can’t afford this sort of happy holiday blind spot, as the safety of his team is far from guaranteed even on the simplest runs during the clearest nights.
So, what sort of steps are taken to ensure they complete their mission without having to file a bunch of incident reports? We looked at data from local and federal law enforcement and emergency service providers to find out what Santa’s Operational Risk Management looks like.
Listed as the most dangerous city in America with a population over 100,000, Detroit requires certain extra measures be taken. The Naughty or Nice Roster is cross referenced with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report to give Santa a route plan that minimizes the likelihood of a direct engagement with aggressors.
The Sleigh, already engineered for stealth with radar absorbing paint, is fitted with an external Kevlar lining and skid plates. Finally, the reindeer are equipped with specially tailored ballistic blankets and shock absorbing horseshoes to muffle sound. The real secret to their success though? Speed. If the team can get in, make their deliveries, and bounce within a tight time window, they can make the horizon before anyone is the wiser.
Unfortunately, Detroit not only has the highest crime rate in its class, but also tops the list in the number of house fires per year. According to the Home Fire Index produced by U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System, the three leading causes of these house fires are Electrical (26%), Cooking / Stove Related (25%) and Candles (12%).
Santa catches an easy break on this hazard. Since he and his team began delivering presents in the 4th Century, most homes were heated by fires in hearths and fireplaces. As this was the easiest option for quick and silent entry, Santa took advantage by using a fire-retardant suit to protect himself. Modifications over the years have improved its effectiveness, and even enhanced fire protection services’ equipment. If you ever look closely at a fire fighter’s turnout gear, it bears a striking resemblance to the suit of Saint Nick.
It will come as a shock to no one that the highest flood risk comes from Florida. Combining data from the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) with census data, statistically the biggest flood risk can be narrowed down to Punta Gorda. What might be surprising on the other hand, is that this hazard is easily solved with a little outsourcing and cooperation from local entities.
Whenever the risk of flooding reaches a certain level, a call is placed to the Louisiana bayou. Santa Claus swaps his sleigh for a pirogue, (or john boat to you Yankees) and the reindeer stand down for midrats while eight alligators take their positions. With the use of pre-staged beacons to light the path, Papa Noel can swiftly and safely complete his mission.
During the holiday season, it's important to enjoy family and friends, eat as much of Meemaw’s mac and cheese as possible, and fill out those 30-page leave packets completely. Just remember to be thankful though; they could always be worse. Your Hazard and Risk Prevention packet is just for you to go home and be an adult, Santa Claus’ must cover some pretty crazy twists and turns.