The Annual Preparedness Warning Message
: Readers to my posts over the past few years know that I can be a little obsessive about emergency preparedness. This year I will back off for a variety of reasons. First, you don’t need me constantly carping about how ill prepared we are as a society, last year’s hurricanes proved me right. As I write it is day 9 in this year’s hurricane season and the first storm may be developing this evening in the gulf. Those who live there (including my parents, aunt and uncle, and dear friends) know what to do. The rest aren’t going to prepare one lick more just because they read it here.
But tonight I began to ponder real preparedness. I saw on The Weather Channel that they were doing a special this week on a feature that they did PRIOR to Katrina on the dangers of living in New Orleans (a city known for being below sea level on the gulf coast). I know that there were/are a lot of fine people who live there, but I am baffled at the surprise when a hurricane devastated their city. How can any community live with such blinders on? When we vacationed there a couple of years ago they almost bragged about how the city was built below sea level and the first major storm could sink it. Well, it did.
I then took inventory of where we live. What are the potential dangers of living here at the Digital Ranch. Well, nothing serious. We live in a rural area that will probably survive better than most, maybe.
So I stopped to consider some of the popular disaster movies and think how they might effect us. Volcanoes are pretty much a non-issue here, we don’t even have big hills. I think that the closest potential bad mountain is a thousand miles away. I was living in Seattle when Mt. St. Helens blew her top, I think that we are safe out here. Then there is the wildfires that tend to destroy hundreds of homes each year. Not a problem here. We are 50 feet from a forest, but the undergrowth was cleared two year ago and the woods never really get dry here.
Finally I came across the one that could really do damage, earthquake. We experienced a really bad one a hundred years ago at the other end of the state, and that is something that I guess could happen anywhere at any time. But what of those who live on a fault line, are they any different than those who lived in a city below sea level on the gulf coast? This year is the 100th anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. A recent study said that if that were to happen again today (and all scientists agree that it is either possible or inevitable) it would displace some 250,000 homes (damaged to the point of being condemned), 10,000 office buildings, and 1,500 deaths. The total cost would be in the neighborhood of potentially $120,000,000,000.00 ($120b).
Then there is the question of what to do with the 250,000 families that are now without a home. What to do about that! And if you think that the folks in New Orleans made a stir about not getting taking care of, just wait until the core of the nation’s wealthiest liberals is displaced. Oh my! And if it happens in the next few years it will all be the blame of a Republican governor who get the full force of it all. And you know that you will hear all of the displaced people saying that they had no idea that it could happen. This despite the fact that they have seen some terrible earthquakes in our life times (okay, for old guys like me it is in our life times!) and every business and school has earthquake drills (I know, I was born there). Its going to happen and it is going to make Katrina look like a breeze in a field compared to the damage that can happen from “The Big One”.
Think I will go make sure the batteries in the flashlight are fresh.