Went to another disaster preparedness presentation yesterday. This one specifically on tsunamis. Presenters (3) outnumbered attendees (2), but gamely soldiered on.
In the first half, the earnest young AmeriCorps worker who has become the public face for emergency management in the county gave an excellent backgrounder on tsunamis.
In the second, reps from the state did their PowerPoint bit. Their presentation began with an exhortation for us all (2) to become “Preparedness Superheroes” and ended with an order to “don your capes!” But in between they offered no actual preparedness information (unless you count the offer for free NOAA weather radios to low-income folks). They talked about the publications they’d distributed to the media and to motel owners. They showed a screenshot of their “fabulous” website (whose URL they did not know). And they informed us that our town had earned “TsunamiReady” status and would soon be putting up signs at the city limits.
As far as individual action, neither presentation went beyond “duck and cover” during an earthquake and “run for the hills” immediately afterward.
All questions about the aftermath of a disaster went unanswered. Worse than unanswered; it was clear none of the presenters had even considered things like what local buildings could serve as shelters, how food supplies would be handled, and what would happen to the vast majority (>2) who weren’t bothering to prepare.
I asked the state presenters how this community could be “TsunamiReady” when, in fact, the majority of the town (including the town hall, police department, fire department, hardware store, and every single building that could conceivably serve as a public shelter) would likely be not only inundated by a tsunami, but permanently sunk in muddy water due to subsidence and liquifaction post-Big One.
“Well, ‘TsunamiReady’ is just the name of a program,” they admitted.
I learned two things of value: One is that free CERT training will start late next month. I plan to sign up.
The second is that since “officials” in charge of disaster planning haven’t even considered the most fundamental questions about a disaster’s aftermath, I’m more on my own even than I thought.
I have three local friends who do understand the dangers and have worked on preps. One of those friends is dying of cancer. The second will be out of my reach after a Big One. The third — the best prepared and most resourceful of the three — lives in a more dangerous spot than I do and practices a profession that will keep her up to her arse in alligators for weeks after any major disaster.
If I plan to stick around here, I clearly have to drag my own hermitty arse out and do some serious prep-networking.