Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Planning for the future now

Since the nation gawked awkwardly at the fustercluck down in the Gulf states, disaster preparedness has moved from understudy to a supporting role. People who are already tuned into the importance of being prepared (that isn’t just the Boy Scouts’ motto) are fine-tuning their emergency plans and retooling their Bug-Out Bags. Folks who don’t even own a flashlight are starting to question their ways.

The forums at The Claire Files (TCF) have been hopping with preparedness talk. Albeit, that’s normal operations there; let’s just say the chatter has raised a decibel. Erin brought up a poignant line of reasoning in the Hard Hearted thread. With the TPTB worrying more about sensitivity training and how many life preservers are on rescue boats, than the actual rescue process, will they be any better at handling the cash they’re soliciting? With the amount of confusion and turnover running rampant in Gulf-related rescue operations, my opinion coincides with Erin’s—that’s a negative, Chief.

Erin’s view on the whole giving situation is to take the money you’d normally donate to a charity to benefit victims of Katrina and use it to buy personal emergency preparedness supplies. Keep yourself out of the refugee shelter, should disaster strike in your turf. This way, the money is put to good use, rather than being flushed into “administrative costs” or in some ridiculous, gov-fest holding pattern while responders receive anger management.

The 9-11-05 Sunday edition of the Seattle Times/PI sported a front-page special report about disaster plans. The accompanying article, Could you survive a disaster here? thoughtfully examines personal responsibility pertaining to emergency preparedness. Coincidentally, the Washington Insurance Council is quoted as advocating a donation strategy similar to Erin’s. They promote making a matching donation to your own personal emergency supply cache when you donate to hurricane relief.

Mike Eagan, spokesman for the King and Kitsap County American Red Cross (thankfully!) spoke candidly about how people need to take responsibility for ensuring their own safety in an emergency. He stated, “ ‘(People) can’t rely on the government to extricate them from their homes,’ unless it’s a life-threatening situation.” Whoa Nelly! Someone advocating self-reliance and preparations was quoted in a mainstream media news story. The article gets even better, because more than one person stressed the importance of getting your shit together before disaster strikes. Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management, and Barb Graff, director of emergency management for the city of Seattle, put their two cents in as well.

It was refreshing to read an article that rejects the notion that the fedgov is going to cradle you in its arms and sing you to sleep. The article does contain some of the requisite administrative stroking, but it really was kept to a minimum. The message, “Pull your head out and get crackin’” has a strong delivery.

In addition to the article, the special report includes two informative sidebars (The 6 must-do’s and local preparation workshops), a reproducible Get Prepared tip sheet and an emergency/family communications plan wallet card. The Get Prepared tip sheet includes before, during and after the emergency sections and a supply list. Being technologically challenged, the directions and illustrations explaining how to turn the gas, water and electricity sources off thrilled me. With the amount of time I spend holed up at home, solo, chances are when some caca crashes into the rotary blades, I’ll be alone and have to deal with these details myself. I’m going to print and laminate the directions and post them at shut off locations around my house.

Whether you are prepared for a forty day flood or are stuck trying to remember if you own any matches, please take a moment to read the Seattle Times special report. There’s cool stuff in it for everyone.

Prep freaks tend to be curmudgeony folk; take heed of the advice to get to know some of your neighbors (The 6 must-do’s), even if it’s only to form an opinion of whom to avoid in an emergency.

La-La land residents—climb off that cloud and READ this report in its entirety. The gov beast isn’t going to save you when your city succumbs to bad juju; more than likely the beast will try and eat you. Prepare for that day. You fixate on the wrong question; it isn’t “if,” but “when.”


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