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From the Preator's Office - Creating a Culture of Preparedness January 03 2015, 0 Comments

Creating a Culture of Preparedness

During this post-9/11 and Hurricane Katrina era, there has been more emphasis placed on government/FEMA preparedness, but the vast majority of Americans have not grabbed onto the need to be prepared at home and at work for potential disasters. One of the harshest lessons learned from recent disasters, especially Katrina, is that you are your own first responder. 

We need to prepare ourselves, our families and our homes. In many cases, family and personal preparations can be fairly simple. All it takes is a shift in our thinking. Here’s an easy three-step jumpstart:

Step 1: Have a plan to evacuate;

Step 2: Have an emergency evacuation kit and three days’ supply of food and water on hand at your home; and

Step 3: Have a weather radio or some other means of staying informed. (When Granny's birthday comes around and you’re thinking of giving her one of those silver picture frames with a photo of the kids, give her a weather radio instead).

Of course, on a national scale the task is far more complex. The recent series of disasters in the United States and around the world have demonstrated with startling clarity that we are living in a “new normal.’’  In this new normal, we need a preparedness that is ingrained and intertwined in every part of our daily lives, but is mostly common sense and based in the American spirit.

To create a Culture of Preparedness, we need to focus "left of the disaster," which means investing in preparation. We can start by personally being Red Cross Ready www.redcross.organd making first aid and pandemic prevention and response required courses on a high school and college level.

We need to create a national preparedness plan, with a local civil defense corps. Government has to set standards for institutions like nursing homes and hospitals (they should be evacuated well before the general population). We need dual-trained teachers who can be disaster responders. We need generators in drugstores in each geographical area (if power is lost, people can still get medicine) and gas stations along all interstate highways. We need cell-phone towers that can be lowered before a storm and then raised after the storm.

Will these things be expensive at a time of economic hardship? Of course, but for every $1 spent on preparedness we can save up to $9 in response costs after a disaster.

It's time for America to wake up to this reality. Our task as Americans is to be ready. In this new normal, we have only two options: We can exist in fear and dependency, or we can do the responsible thing and live comfortably in a culture of preparedness.

I hope this Website and my ongoing efforts will help this become reality.

Lieutenant General Russell L. Honore