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  • Polls Show Americans Aware of Dismal Disaster Prep

    According to the Associated Press, a “survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center says that nearly 6 in 10, or 57 percent, say the country is not better prepared for another disaster like a hurricane. Roughly equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and independents share that gloomy outlook.” Americans are pretty smart.

    Actually, the U,S. is better prepared for hurricanes than it was several years ago, in part because the federal government has dedicated a lot of time and resources preparing for this kind of disaster. Even more importantly, the states that usually bear the brunt of disasters such as Texas and Florida are the among the nation’s leaders in disaster preparedness. Others, including Mississippi and Louisiana, have significantly ramped-up their game since Katrina.

    Still, Americans are right to be worried. Several years ago the Department of Homeland Security established 15 disaster scenarios to guide national planning for real catastrophes. With the exception of hurricanes and pandemics, almost no real progress has been made. The White House decided to rewrite the presidential directive that governs the planning process. We’re still waiting. National disaster planning may not be at a standstill, but the amount of progress since 9/11 is shockingly inadequate.

    And for some kinds of truly catastrophic disasters, like the threat of an EMP attack, the White House has done next to nothing.

    This Administration has also revealed that it has a tough time dealing with the unexpected. We saw that in the inordinate amount of time it took to get the federal response to the Gulf oil spill organized.

    To make matters worse, this White House persists in issuing FEMA declarations more and more frequently, a policy that actually encourages states to be less prepared and detracts FEMA from preparing for really true national disasters.

    Finally, the Defense Department even plans to cut the number of specially trained troops that would be available for responding to WMD attacks on the homeland.

    It is difficult to give the government high marks for disaster planning. No wonder the polls are so dismal.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Polls Show Americans Aware of Dismal Disaster Prep

    1. PBN, Superior, WI says:

      The focus of the US leadership is naive and narcissistic. God Help Us!
      Tyranny gains a foothold when people of good conscience remain silent. -TJ

    2. Bobbie says:

      They must be too busy trying to figure out what happened to all the oil in the gulf. Where is all the money?

      For natural disaster areas that discriminates no one, government will pretend to spend money on some sorts of safety plan of protection, but when the time comes we will have to fend for ourselves while the government spends money on special interests.

    3. George Colgrove says:

      The primary problem with the concept of federalizing emergency response is that for the most part nearly all of FEMA's employees are idle between emergencies. We are essentially paying feds to set on their hands doing nothing. When an emergency does hit, they are slow to get started. Unless we have these people constantly practicing, running drills or whatever, these guys cannot be alert at the next emergency. If FEMA was not a federal agency, but rather an organization of State Emergency Officials with membership of private contractors, construction workers, National Guard members and state on down to town emergency workers and volunteers, then you can have an apparatus of active workers ready to go at any time – at the local level. The apparatus would allow for emergency workers from other locations to be relocated at the site of the disaster – quickly. Much of the equipment needs (housing, construction, etc) can be done via retainer contracts from the private sector. When not being used for an emergency, the equipment is being used for profit producing enterprises.

      The thing is we currently have an agency that hopefully will always be idle. We do not want disasters to strike. We are paying feds at a premium to do little on the day-to-day (between disaster) operations. When a disaster does hit, they are green. They are also remote. It takes time to get back up to speed. By using local people for quick response and an organization that can be fired up upon need (an organization that has an membership of active workers) to mobilize others from outside the disaster, we can meet the challenges quicker and with far better transparency than what can be provided by feds.

      As with any agency, department or program provided by the feds, things can be done better, quicker and with better accountability to the people if it were taken from the District of Columbia and put on main street. Considering we can no longer afford the federal government as it is, we need to be creative in our rethinking what government should look like.

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