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Old 10-25-2011, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 25,152,060 times
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In the last few short years we have experienced two horrific events: 9/11 and Katrina/Rita and it still being debated. Politics aside NYC did a better job than New Orleans simply because [A] it has more resources inside the city to work together [b] it wasn't under water.

Have we learned anything and are we prepared as a nation for the next disaster? We' certainly learned about ineffective warnings systems, how to mandate when a city shall evacuate, and that FEMA should be able to act independently in a crisis to call on Military or any other agency.

I don't think we are even close to being prepared, but we won't really know until the next national crisis. Pointing fingers, playing politics and the blame game will not prepare anyone for the future. What is the solution? I think a national plan created by people who had actutal experience working with with very large crowds and few resources would help light a fire under problem solvers. Maybe. The problem is the needed resources must be funded. I don't think Congress has the foresight to do it.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:03 PM
 
Location: TX and NM on the border of the Great Southwest.
11,833 posts, read 15,853,337 times
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I don't think New Orleans should ever be used as an example of a city where emergency preparedness is placed in the top file drawer of city hall. We have a whole Federal agency geared to responding to and managing national disasters but it should never be used to override Constitutional rights of individuals to plan for themselves. What more can Congress do than form a Federal planning agency? Or more aptly said, what can they afford?

And too, which possibilities are we to fund and plan for? Some disasters we have experienced in recent history include hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, near nuclear disaster, chemical spills and forest and grass fires. Some other possibilities include economic collapse, anarchy and riots, tsunami, foreign attack, meteor strike and any number of other scenarios that only Hollywood can imagine.

One problem with planning is that most Americans will not believe it until they are in the middle of a disaster. Another problem is that if the government starts to openly plan for something really massive like am asteroid strike, every tinfoil hat wearing fruitcake in America is suddenly running around the streets, and the internet, with pitchforks, torches and picket signs.

Americans have to take the responsibility for themselves in regard to protecting themselves from most national crises. Those who rely entirely on a bloated central government will likely be counted among the victims in any major calamity. There is not enough money on this Earth to make every American warm, cozy and secure and we are warned by our forefathers against those who would sacrifice freedom for security.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:14 AM
 
Location: Tampa
3,981 posts, read 9,257,630 times
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Its all about $$$

If you try and have a few hundred billion set aside in a rainy day fund, someone at some point is going to come by and "borrow" it.

even right now, we KNOW of things that will happen, and we do not prepare for them

Florida will get hammered again by an Andrew like hurricane. Have we stopped building in areas that could be destroyed?

The SW US (and other parts of the US too) are subject to extreme drought. Do we build more reservoirs? De-sal plants?

Someone at some point will sneak another explosive onto a plane and blow it up, do we start flying naked?


America no longer seems to be willing to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:43 AM
 
Location: Wu Dang Mountain
12,941 posts, read 18,886,256 times
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Are we prepared as a nation? I highly doubt it. As a small percentage of individuals? Yes.

Like the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, "preppers" get laughed at and ridiculed on an almost daily basis. But when it all goes south and you discover your vaunted government can't even pull it's own thumb out after a disaster they'll be the ones left standing, while the rest of the country runs around screaming for help that won't be coming.

We went through major flooding here in PA a month or two ago - only now is FEMA starting to make their feeble efforts at restoration. What I saw most was people helping people immediately after and, more importantly, just before the floods. The politicos are only interested in contacting Washington to get emergency funds well after the fact, and even then mainly from a political viewpoint - "they'll remember me at election time". The Red Cross, Salvation Army etc. were over-worked, under-staffed and ran out of emergency supplies rather quickly. The infrastructure in many towns went down and some didn't come back up for weeks. Police, fire, rescue personnel couldn't get into many areas, so no emergency aid was available from that quarter.

If people took the time to plan even for a few days of no power, food, water etc. - if they'd only play "what if" once in a while - they'd be so much better prepared, but then that would probably take away from their "Dancing With The Stars" time.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:09 AM
 
Location: somewhere in the woods
16,886 posts, read 12,570,737 times
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Why do most people expect goverment to be there when something bad happens? people should depend on themselves for disasters and the like. If you live in a flood plain, then move to someplace that is not. people always seem to think that goverment owes them something if a hurricane lands on top of their home. let me tell you, it does not. general welfare does not mean they owe you something each and every time a calamity happens to people.

Maybe if people would stop clamoring to the goverment to help them, then maybe the nanny from cradle to grave mentality would stop.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,138,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalblue View Post

Someone at some point will sneak another explosive onto a plane and blow it up, do we start flying naked?


America no longer seems to be willing to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.
LOL What are you willing to sacrifice for seeing me naked on a plane?

Oh, wait, that's horror, not terror.

Seriously - most people insist that they are prepared, but they are only prepared for a few things, or a few days, maybe a month - no more.
The thing we have forgotten is 'sustainability' - the ability not only to have things, but to make more things. Things from cows and chickens to replacement parts and our own power. We are totally dependent on other countries, other people, and other places for things, thinking that as long as we have enough money we can buy those things. When something happens - an ice storm, a pandemic, a fiscal collapse - money will mean nothing to people looking for a warm place to sleep, a bottle of antibiotics, or a handful of rice to eat. No matter how many dollars they have, they won't be able to buy it, because it won't be there to buy.

I like my satellite TV and my programs like NCIS, Criminal Minds, or Big Bang Theory; they are entertaining. I like my computer, it is fun to be able to talk to friends thousands of miles away in a moment. But - I also like my kerosene lamps, my woodburning stove, my cattle and chickens and herd dog - and I am cheerfully prepared to do without the former and live quite comfortably with the latter. Like the woman shrieking at the reporter last year on TV - "WE HAVE NO POWER! WE ARE FREEZING! ALL THESE TREES ARE DOWN, THEY CAN'T GET TO US, AND WE CAN"T EVEN HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE!" - by golly, if all those trees were down around my house, I'd not only have coffee but a big supper going, and be nice and warm!

People expect to be taken care of, they demand to be kept safe. What I've always told my kids is "You are not safe. Not at any time, not anywhere, not from any thing or anyone - so live accordingly, and trust no one but yourselves." People who think that sooner or later someone somewhere is bound to come and save them, might not like the price they will have to pay for that salvation...
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Tampa
3,981 posts, read 9,257,630 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
LOL What are you willing to sacrifice for seeing me naked on a plane?

Oh, wait, that's horror, not terror.

Seriously - most people insist that they are prepared, but they are only prepared for a few things, or a few days, maybe a month - no more.
The thing we have forgotten is 'sustainability' - the ability not only to have things, but to make more things. Things from cows and chickens to replacement parts and our own power. We are totally dependent on other countries, other people, and other places for things, thinking that as long as we have enough money we can buy those things. When something happens - an ice storm, a pandemic, a fiscal collapse - money will mean nothing to people looking for a warm place to sleep, a bottle of antibiotics, or a handful of rice to eat. No matter how many dollars they have, they won't be able to buy it, because it won't be there to buy.

I like my satellite TV and my programs like NCIS, Criminal Minds, or Big Bang Theory; they are entertaining. I like my computer, it is fun to be able to talk to friends thousands of miles away in a moment. But - I also like my kerosene lamps, my woodburning stove, my cattle and chickens and herd dog - and I am cheerfully prepared to do without the former and live quite comfortably with the latter. Like the woman shrieking at the reporter last year on TV - "WE HAVE NO POWER! WE ARE FREEZING! ALL THESE TREES ARE DOWN, THEY CAN'T GET TO US, AND WE CAN"T EVEN HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE!" - by golly, if all those trees were down around my house, I'd not only have coffee but a big supper going, and be nice and warm!

People expect to be taken care of, they demand to be kept safe. What I've always told my kids is "You are not safe. Not at any time, not anywhere, not from any thing or anyone - so live accordingly, and trust no one but yourselves." People who think that sooner or later someone somewhere is bound to come and save them, might not like the price they will have to pay for that salvation...

But not everyone can live like that.

I would imagine you must have a decent size piece of property. Imagine if EVERYONE tried to live like that. I doubt there would be nearly enough room.

And how much does it actually cost to have a months worth of supplies just laying around? For many people living paycheck to paycheck, that just wont happen.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,138,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalblue View Post
But not everyone can live like that.

I would imagine you must have a decent size piece of property. Imagine if EVERYONE tried to live like that. I doubt there would be nearly enough room.

And how much does it actually cost to have a months worth of supplies just laying around? For many people living paycheck to paycheck, that just wont happen.
Few people actually DO want to 'live like that'; we worked for 20 years and lived in a 900 sq foot house to be able to afford what we wanted - because we do want to 'live like that'. There is plenty of room, and plenty of arable land for those who are willing to plan and whose goal is to live like that. My DH, kids and I on 1/3 of an acre raised, canned, and dehydrated our own vegetables; we also had a chicken coop out back that gave us eggs and chicken meat, as well as fruit trees and bushes in front that gave us fruit. I bought a small rusty castiron woodstove at an antique store for $20, DH bought scrap metal and stovepipe and fashioned a chimney outlet to fit in a metal-framed window if things got dire. Even though we now have a nice big woodstove that heats the whole house, we still have that little gem. We hunted deer and hog and butchered, froze it and even made our own jerky. It isn't difficult - it just takes time, forethought, and effort, three things most folks aren't willing to expend as long as the grocery store is open.

As for living paycheck to paycheck, it takes planning as well to have food and even water supplies. We bought the big bottles of bleach (with three kids and several fosters in the house) and as soon as the bottles were empty, we'd fill 'em with water and put them aside. Whn stores have sales on canned or frozen goods, you buy on sale and put back or freeze. Whenever you see a bulk sale item, you buy in bulk so that you have more later. You start out slowly and gradually, and whenever you get a windfall (like a tax return) you take half and buy food supplies to put back.

Goal-setting and planning is everything, and it can be done on a paycheck-to-paycheck life; we did it for years.

Last edited by SCGranny; 10-28-2011 at 06:05 PM..
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
4,464 posts, read 9,663,036 times
Reputation: 2819
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
In the last few short years we have experienced two horrific events: 9/11 and Katrina/Rita and it still being debated. Politics aside NYC did a better job than New Orleans simply because [A] it has more resources inside the city to work together [b] it wasn't under water.

Have we learned anything and are we prepared as a nation for the next disaster? We' certainly learned about ineffective warnings systems, how to mandate when a city shall evacuate, and that FEMA should be able to act independently in a crisis to call on Military or any other agency.

I don't think we are even close to being prepared, but we won't really know until the next national crisis. Pointing fingers, playing politics and the blame game will not prepare anyone for the future. What is the solution? I think a national plan created by people who had actutal experience working with with very large crowds and few resources would help light a fire under problem solvers. Maybe. The problem is the needed resources must be funded. I don't think Congress has the foresight to do it.
First of all I think it's important to differentiate between the two situations, as I believe the level of preparedness possible and the amount of resources it should take is very different.

I also think it's important to note that New Orleans and large parts of that coastal section are in somewhat of a unique situation geographically, which further complicates things.

I'll start by addressing the first thing you brought up, 9/11/attacks on US soil.

In my opinion there's only so much one can do to prepare for attacks of this nature, a few has certainly been averted since then, but for the most part it's been by accident or random strokes of luck or action by civilians.

Intelligence and other measures certainly has some effect but there's still only so much one can do, that has any relevant effect.

As far as preparing for the response in the event of an attack, I think it's mostly up to par. Larger cities that make up the more likely targets all have preparedness plans to go by and the federal government has experience in how to handle the situation. I do not think the response after 9/11 was terribly lacking in any significant way.

Now, is the US prepared for a massive attack on the electrical grid or nuclear plants? Not likely, but I also don't have in depth inside into the US' internet security measures, as such attacks would most likely be viral and done by another state, much like we saw with the STUXNET attack on Iran.

I do not know how well the response to such a threat would be, but as far as conventional "terrorist" attacks go, I think the response will be swift and effective.


As for natural disasters:

What we saw with Katrina, I believe was a situation where most of the things that could go wrong, did go wrong.

There was too much faith put in inferior flood barriers, too much responsibility given to (situationally) inexperienced police men, lack of clear leadership and national guard soldiers who were not sufficiently trained for the situation.

Natural disasters is a part of life and north America certainly has it's fair share of extreme weather phenomenons, thankfully the ability to predict them is ever getting better, and providing people with better, earlier and more accurate warnings.

Unfortunately the preparedness will vary greatly based on your location, geographical situation and leadership. Is New Orleans prepared for a new Karina? I don't think so, nothing is really different now, the response from the police, federal government and such might be better (if they've learned from their mistakes), but the geographical and flood barrier situation hasn't changed, if another Katrina hits, we might very well see New Orleans flood again.

On the other hand the East Coast certainly seemed well prepared when the hurricane was destined to hit it not long ago. Was the response a bit over the top? Certainly, considering the impact, but had the storm hit with the strength that was initially predicted, the evacuations and responses would've been completely within line.

That's not to say bad things didn't happen then too, but the response was most certainly better than the one before, during and after Katrina.

Overall, I think you can only do so much individually or on a government level, whether local or federal, and I do think that generally, nationwide, the response to either scenario will be good enough, though obviously not perfect.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:30 AM
 
10,996 posts, read 11,160,571 times
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I don't think the government or anyone for that matter can say for sure what will come. There are those who can predict something happening, sure, but the reality is that when disaster happens it comes on suddenly. Just the other day there was a tiny earthquake in my city. A tiny quake that some didn't even notice. That was the first time in my life I had experienced such a thing and this had never happened in my city for as far as I know. If someone on the street had told me that there would be an earthquake the next day, I would have laughed. Now, I see that this is a reality. That any day now a huge earthquake could strike. I no longer have to move to California in order to say that I might get stuck in an earthquake. It is here.

Catastrophes usually happen when nobody expects them. We are probably lucky that the earthquake we had was very small, instead of a huge one. We can prepare for bigger earthquakes, now that we know that there is a chance of having them. But for those people who don't have any forewarning, any amount of precautions will usually be for the enemy they already know, not the one that is hidden. When the hidden enemy strikes in the form of an unexpected disaster, the person will be unprepared. And so will the surrounding areas and the government. The only thing left to do will be damage control. It also doesn't hurt anyone to have money in a bank account, in case you need to flee your area and rent an apartment outside the city or in another city, right away. Until the insurance, if you have any, pays for damages. Unless the disaster is worldwide, it's good to have money in a bank account so that you can move out as soon as possible. Too many people stay simply because they don't have money for paying the rent for a month somewhere else. But it is imperative to leave a disaster area, instead of waiting for the government to come and save you. Which they might or might not. Buying a small plane for when you are forced to stay inside the disaster area, would also be a good investment. I have a friend who has one he never uses, but he has it just in case. Not everyone will ever need one, but it's something. It's a way of trying to save oneself some way.
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