There have been a number of events from small to large that we can look at to make a judgment of which is better in a disaster – “let Government take care of me” or “I will take care of myself and my family”
Why am I bringing this topic up? We are witnessing today how a well prepared, well rehearsed, orderly government handles a disaster. I’m speaking of Japan. It is obvious that the shear magnitude of the Japanese 9.0 earthquake, followed by the tsunami that we could see in real time, followed by the nuclear power plant destruction was more than any government can prepare for. But despite all the assurances, all the emergency drills, all the procedures written and despite the calmness and orderliness of the Japanese people, things are not turning out as planned.
Lets take a look at Hurricane Katrina which devastated an area bigger than England. President Bush was rounded criticized for the slowness of the Federal response, despite FEMA being prepared for a disaster – but maybe not that big.
Now take a look at Milwaukee in the Spring of 1993 when more than 400,000 were affected by contaminated drinking water, although no one knew it at the time. If you read The Blue Death by Dr Robert Morris, you can get a sense of the difficulties the authorities had tracking down the cause of this problem. Starting with difficulties in communications between departments and turf protecting by others. With people dying by the day it took almost a week to put the finger on the real culprit.
I could go on and cite 9/11, or the January 2005 “boil alert” issued for Phoenix and the results are basically the same. Emergency response is never easy because it contains so much of the unknown. Despite the planning, the unknown to deal with creates problems, uncertainty and spotty results.
What’s the alternative? When it comes to food and water my advice is to protect yourself and plan for it in advance. While some parts of Japan hit by the Tsunami were so devastated, that pre-planning made no difference to the people that were killed or swept out to sea. However, to countless others, having a reliable water distillation system installed and food stock-piled, would have alleviated their dependence on relief supplies from government or other sources. The first step is to install a water distiller. Not only will you have the advantage of the distilled water for drinking and food preparation in good times, it could well become a life-saver if a disaster hits. This way you will have “taken care of me and my family”