Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hearing the warnings

Just read this article about the devastating earthquake in Italy. I don't know what to say to those affected, except that I send my heartfelt condolences and am sorry for your loss.

What is particularly disturbing is that in the article, a seismologist had tried to warn people that the earthquake was coming. But because he wasn't exactly right about when it would hit, he was publicly taken to task. From the article:

"Indeed, a little-noticed controversy had erupted the week before, after Giampaolo Giuliani, a seismologist at the nearby Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Abruzzo, predicted, following months of small tremors in the area, that a much bigger jolt was on its way. The researcher had said that a "disastrous" earthquake would strike on March 29, but when it didn't, Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, officially denounced Giuliani in court last week for "false alarm." "These imbeciles enjoy spreading false news," Bertolaso was quoted as saying. "Everyone knows that you can't predict earthquakes."

Tragic. This situation makes me ask myself a few questions:

--What would I have done in this situation? If someone said, "Insert devastating tragedy here would happen on insert date here, would I have a place to go to get away from the dangers associated with such a situation?

--Even if insert devastating tragedy here didn't happen, would I be sorry about the improvements I made to survive such a tragedy-- i.e. stronger building structures, emergency food supplies, emergency shelter supplies, etc. --or would they be something I would be glad I prepared with/had on hand anyway?

---Would I think that just because not all the details were exactly right, that nothing the person said who was doing the warning had any validity?

There are a lot of emergency preparation sites out there, which have a lot of helpful information. Some of these I have quoted, and linked. Some more I will probably quote and/or link in the future. We may not agree on everything, but we agree on at least one thing: everyone needs to be prepared for emergencies. The reasons we think emergencies may come--problems with the economy, pandemic, disruption in transportation of goods, to name a few--may differ, but in the end, if you have no food/water/supplies in an emergency situation, will it really matter which kind of circumstances led to your situation?

If/when an emergency situation takes place, there may be some people who are currently trying to warn people to be prepared who, because they were ignored, may say, like the seismologist in the article above, "Someone owes me an apology". But I also think that the vast majority of bloggers/writers/speakers who are trying to help people get prepared by blogging/writing/speaking about emergency preparation would say, as he did, after such a situation, "I am devastated but also angry." It may be presumptuous, but I think the whole reason that most bloggers blog on this subject is to try to ensure that any emergency that takes place will be less devastating for everyone, whether they know the people involved or not.

Please get as many emergency supplies in storage as you can, within your means. Even if your favorite blogger(s) may not get the details exactly right as to the reasons why/when you may need them, I don't think you'll ever be sorry to have emergency resources on hand.....

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marie, relative to your survey, I do not think I will evacuate based on some FEMA person telling me to. I do not trust them. Odd I know. but Katrina and events in the plains last spring showed that the Police and others will break into your home and search it while you are away, Taking god knows what

Carl

Marie said...

Carl--I hadn't heard about the break-ins, but those and other factors, depending on the situation, (people weathering out a hurricane, staying to try to protect their home from a wildfire, etc.) might cause people not to evacuate, even if asked to do so. If I think of a good way to include that, I'll add it to the poll. Thanks as always for your comment, and for the information!

Marie said...

Just tried to add something to the poll, but can't at this point, so I guess anyone who would only evacuate in certain circumstances can mark both their level of readiness and "other" if they are so inclined...

Christy said...

I'm with Carl, I don't trust FEMA or any government agency. But, if I heard to evacuate from soneone I did trust, I would. We have bug out bags ready to go at a moments notice.

Marie said...

Christy--Glad to hear that you are ready--I have a bit of updating to do on my supplies, so the poll is a good reminder...
It would be imperative in any circumstance to trust the source of the information before you decided to evacuate, but I do have a question, if anyone knows the answer--if FEMA issues the order, does it become a matter of law to follow it? I hadn't even thought about the source of a request to evacuate, I was just wondering if people were prepared if they needed to do so, and there are obviously more factors involved. Makes me think...thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Marie, I am sure that the PTB's had the Videos of Fema, police and Etc, doing breakins. They were all over youtube last year about this time.

Carl

Ginger said...

Who cares who issues an evacuation order? One must make the decision for oneself and family. I'm not a FEMA fan myself, but having lived many years in hurricane zones and also having made the mistake of staying behind during one fierce hurricane, I definitely listen to and heed warnings and don't waste time debating over whether or not I trust the issuing agency. Again, I'm not a FEMA fan! But a few years ago, my family and I were in a flash flood. We were stranded for several days and we ran out of water. We were on a water well and didn't have time to draw water before we lost power. Our house was hit by lightning and my husband and I frantically worked for hours during the heavy rains and lightning to shovel the water away from our home. FEMA sent a bulldozer in to bring us supplies - both food and water and cleaning supplies. It was very confusing to me - the response post-Hurricane Katrina and following other events - because we had been cared for by FEMA and our wonderful local volunteer Fire Department. I learned a very valuable lesson about preparedness during that flood.

Thanks for posting this article and for other readers' thought provoking comments. I heard this story this morning on NPR and I send my heartfelt condolences to the people of L'Aquila and every area affected.

By the way, it felt really good to answer "yes" to your poll. Did I say that I learned a valuable lesson during that flood?

Marie said...

Carl--I didn't see the videos-- I sincerely hope those practices have stopped. Unfortunate then, and unfortunate now and in the future if a few affect the way a whole organization is viewed. I have heard so many things about FEMA that it is hard to keep the details of who said what and when they said it straight, but hopefully, like Ginger, more people than not have had/will have more positive experiences with them if they have to go through an emergency. My question on FEMA is: does it become a matter of you can be arrested and are breaking the law if you ignore their order, or is communication from them a warning and suggestion, and you still, under the law,have the right to decide what you are going to do? I still don't know why you don't write your own blog, Carl--just your comments are full of information!

Ginger--Thanks for sharing your experience, and sorry that happened to you and your family. It is probably painfully obvious by now that I know next to nothing about FEMA, but I hope that more people have experiences like yours rather than negative ones when FEMA's assistance is needed. Glad that you are prepared--it is better to be prepared and never need it than to not be prepared and wish you were! Thanks again for your comments!

Anonymous said...

Marie, In a Nutshell, Yes, ignoring an evacuation "order" can become a criminal offense and can escalate quickly into other felonies. One simply has to be prepared to take other actions.

Carl

Marie said...

Carl--Since posting this post, I saw some news footage from New Orleans, where authorities wouldn't let people evacuate. From what I understood, there were roadblocks, and people weren't allowed to leave and were turned away. I guess that in that situation people had problems either way, because if they did evacuate, if I remember right, then they didn't know when they would be allowed back in. I know that it's an obvious thing to say, but I guess with every emergency you have to do what you think is best for you and yours, because emergencies are extraordinary circumstances--and you hit it on the head that you have to be prepared so that you have as many alternatives as possible to survive emergencies well. Thanks very much for checking back--I appreciate the info.

hsjacobus said...

Amen!

I think too it's about finding your niche. What works for me may not work for you, but I'll share what I know and if you do the same we can all find something that works for us, but at least do something!

Marie said...

HSJacobus--Well said--we don't all have the same resources/abilities/fill in the blank, but we can find what does work for us, and do it. That makes me think of how glad I am that we have things like the internet where we can share our skills with others and learn from them. Then we can have more options (like your recipes), which is something I appreciate. Or we can just be motivated to do more--I'm about 99% sure that I wouldn't be able to have chickens where we live,(I saw that you do now--yay!) but reading about you and others makes me think that I have to figure out more ways to perpetuate my supplies. That's just one example...
Sorry for the lengthy reply, but you got me thinking... :) Thanks for your comment--they are always appreciated!

hsjacobus said...

I know most cities have rules over animals that include chickens because they are so small and people often try to have them in their back yards. Check with your city if it's something your really interested in. You may be allowed to have them:)

Marie said...

HSJacobus--I need to make that call to check--then I would have a lot of learning to do in order to know what to do with chickens long before I ever bought some. It's just that having a fresh egg source is awfully tempting... :)

hsjacobus said...

:) I know what you mean, but chick season is now so don't wait if your interested. This kind of thing has gone through the roof too. Last year this time one of our feed stores had only sold about 100 chicks this year they sold over 800. They couldn't keep them in stock. The feed store one town over had a one month wait list for chicks. Slightly on the side of pandemonium there.

Their pretty easy to raise too. Mostly just keep them dry, warm and fed;) Sounds like kids right?

One more note I plan to use them and our piggies to help rotate my corn storage. I am grinding and mixing it with their feed. Good way to keep the corn storage extra fresh!

Marie said...

HSJacobus--I finally called the city clerk, and the answer is I can't have chickens here--I expected it, but it's still disappointing. Your chicks sure are cute, though--and good way to rotate your corn storage.
Guess I better memorize how to substitute for eggs, huh? It really is too bad...but thanks for the encouragement that led me to finally make the call!

hsjacobus said...

That is a bummer. Sorry!

1 T egg 2 T water ;)

Marie said...

Rules are different outside of the city limits--if we ever move, we might get those chickens after all... :) Thanks for the ratio!