How Does The Rule of Seven Apply to the Maui Wildfire?

Bob Mayer
3 min readAug 17, 2023


Great Disasters

I guarantee, as it is investigated, that it will be discovered that at least seven things went wrong that resulted in the tragedy that is the Maui Wildfire.

I am not being morbid or milking a tragedy here. I am saying that we must learn from what happened in order to prevent similar events in the future as there will be more wildfires. We had a wildfire here in the Smoky Mountains in the Gatlinburg area in 2016 that killed 14 people and some of the same things went wrong in Maui,

It isn’t just the wildfire. It’s a number of other things that did, or didn’t happen before or after.

Some people want to take the attitude “shit happens.” That is disrespectful to the casualties and ignores their blood lesson.

Taking the attitude shit happens is potentially fatal. It ignores painful and tragic lessons from the past. If we’re going to make the deaths and suffering of victims mean something, we must learn from them.

The bottom line is we can predict and prevent many disasters because every disaster involving human interaction has at last one man-made factor, a Cascade Event, involved. In other words, we have control over whether shit happens. But it means changing a complacent mindset, getting rid of delusional thinking, and viewing the world around us in a different way.

No human involved disaster happens in isolation or as the result of a single event. It requires a minimum of seven things to go wrong in order for an airplane to crash. And one of those seven is always human error. It might not be the primary cause, but it is always a contributing factor. Thus, they can be prevented.

Between the lack of water, power not being cut and cell phone service disrupted we already can see some man-made problems. More will be uncovered.

This is the Rule of Seven. I came up with the Rule of Seven by studying plane crashes, but it also applies to disasters across a spectrum of widely different events, from the worst aircraft disaster, to a battle that turned into a massacre that presaged another similar massacre a decade late, to people being crushed at a soccer game, to an oil well exploding.

What can we learn from these disasters that is relevant to us and could very well save your life and that of others?

We are more powerful than we believe in the face of disaster.

A disaster involving humans does not happen in isolation.

In fact, with enough knowledge and preparation, many individuals and organizations can avoid disasters altogether, and if caught in one, survive.

Utilizing the Rule of Seven shows you the seven contributing events to each disaster and how each one could have been avoided.

The Green Beret Guide to Great Disasters.

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Bob Mayer

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to