In the spirit of emergency preparedness the Department of Homeland Security under the stewardship of Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are conducting the *“Great Central US Stake Out” an emergency preparedness drill for the region surrounding the New Madrid Fault. This region includes Alabama, Arkansas,Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee, states that share this massive fault. It would behoove other states to heed this massive drill as well since fault lines that adjoin the New Madrid fault are equally in danger of a massive distruction. Citizens as a whole should take the time to learn more about preparedness.
Preparedness for not only earthquakes but a host of other known natural and manmade events is critical for everyone to know since we are living in such virulent times. It is taxpayer dollars well spent and the federal government should move to educate all the citizens about preparedness. This is a very good start since it is in such a grand scale and the knowledge gained will save lives. As I mentioned before, I was the associate director of the Office of Emergency Management in my state when I was in the fire service and was FEMA and EPA trained in a myriad of disasters. The need to educate the public about crisis management as well as post disaster survival is vital and I can not stress enough the importance of this drill. Education spells survival.
It is all to convenient to dump on the government when disaster strikes but there are a multitude of viable and legitimate reasons why assistance does not arrive on a moments notice. The initial responsibility belongs to the citizen since first responders will be hard pressed to answer all the 911 calls, provided they were not wiped off the map in the catastrophe. Weather and road conditions also play into disaster response time so it is up to you to have a contingency plan for your personal survival. Blaming first responders for not arriving sooner is just plain wrong since they are risking their lives while finding a safe means of dealing with any disaster. The first priority is the first responder’s safety since it is them who must forge through downed electrical lines, floodwaters and a myriad of hazardous material situations throughout the community when disaster strikes. If the first responder is killed that is one less trained professional to assist the thousands of citizens in need.
Assessing the scene for safety and logistical concerns must be conducted in an accurate and timely fashion in order to make the proper requests from both local and federal authorities. No one is more concerned for the lives of a community than emergency personnel. I spent many Saturdays washing and cleaning hose lines after many training exercises when I could have gone fishing. First Responders train diligently since they work in the emergency field in the first place. There is no room for slackers in the emergency services and I can personally attest to that since everyone must pull their own weight in a crisis situation. In fact the greatest killer of emergency personnel is tunnel vision since they get so wrapped up saving lives they overlook the dangers that exist. But if citizens would take hold of their own destiny and learn more about disaster survival before help arrived they would make the job of emergency personnel much easier in time of crisis. In the process they will save the lives of their family and possibly neighbors as well.
For the folks who live in the New Madrid Fault Region I hope you pay attention to this drill and possibly you will survive a catastrophic event. I maintain that absolutely everyone should have a survival bag that has supplies to last at least one week, just in case. There are many lists that give a person a clue as to what should be inside of this survival kit. People with disabilities should have medication and other life saving supplies as well. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure they say. Like anything else, if you don’t buy into emergency preparedness that is truly your prerogative. But if and when a loved one dies because of something preventable or avoidable then you have only yourself to blame. This is the time of change and there are many aspect of survival to consider and preparedness is a critical one.
Your Devil’s Advocate