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Apr-29-2011 19:39printcomments

Recent Tornadoes Spur Strategies for Improving Disaster Prep

We can demand that the Congress of the United States gear up and at least pass an Disaster Preparation Enhancement Act.

Tornado
Image: armageddononline.org

(SALEM, Ore.) - Our country is clearly vulnerable to havoc. Those recent tornadoes that spun across the South, wiping out over 200 innocent lives and millions of dollars in structural damage certainly drives home that point. Hibernate not--it's a powerful wake-up call!

Just this week, PBS television ran a reminder on the Northwest's lack of preparation for that fateful day in May 1980. That was when Mt. St. Helens erupted with fierce force. We were unready on how to deal with that disaster.

Earlier this year, the mega catastrophe of a 9.0 level earthquake hit Northern Japan with cruel fury.

There followed an incredible tsunami that swept away a huge chunk of the population. This follows the 2010 earthquake that shook Haiti to its roots. There are many other disasters, too numerous to count.

We are living in a world of implicit danger. Dare we play ostrich and bury our heads once again?

There comments are not designed to scare anyone but to spur us to action. We can demand that the Congress of the United States gear up and at least pass an Disaster Preparation Enhancement Act.

Those provisions should include:

  1. Insisting that a "disaster preparation guide" be included in every phonebook, using the model of those now used along Gulf Coast communities following Hurricane Katrina.
  2. Working with the local Red Cross, have at least annual "evacuation drills". The same foresight we deployed for student fire drills needs to be applied to all segments of the community.
  3. Encourage widespread First Training. We must go beyond EMT ambulance staffs and take aim at training everyone willing to learn. I'd love to see the day when every high school in the country will offer such First Aid as an elective.

How we prepare for the unexpected is truly a life-and-death matter. One less corpse is worth the pain and effort!

------------------------------------------------------- NOTE: Lee Coyne served as a Red Cross disaster volunteer at Ground Zero as well as at a shelter in Louisiana following Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

_________________________________

Salem-News.com Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address: luckycoyne@yahoo.com




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©2018 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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