Over the last five weeks I published a five-part series on disaster preparedness, with CNHI Newspapers, a chain of about 140 dailies and weeklies in 23 states. I was waiting for the whole series to be done before linking to it (bad social media management, yes, but those five stories were a lot of work on top of the other work I’m doing).
Warning signs: Technology speeds disaster alerts, response
The Big One: Preparing for a Mid-America earthquake
One of those stories, Disaster dollars, featured comments from Gayland Kitch, the head of emergency management in Moore, Oklahoma, talking about how the town had come back from the massive tornado that hit in 1999. It was stunning to hear that Moore had been hammered again by a major tornado. NPR’s OnPoint found one of my pieces and asked me to come on air as part of a show it was doing on preparedness.
So I went over to its studios today to watch Tom Ashbrook do his thing, and talk about preparedness. An F5 tornado like the ones that have hit Moore will do major damage no matter how much preparation you do, but there are steps we can take as individuals and communities to prepare. The OnPoint team covers a lot of ground in the 46-minute report at the link above; I was impressed (my segment starts at about 19:20).
Disaster preparedness is enormously complex. It involves getting dozens of government and private organizations to cooperate and collaborate, in challenging environments. Communities have pressing spending needs, from schools to public safety to infrastructure, all real and constant, versus the chance of a disaster.
My hope was and is that my articles can boost community attention to disaster preparedness, and help towns and cities make better-informed decisions about how to prepare.