Emergency plans pay off even in extremem disasters
Few people imagined the possibility of an attack like that which occurred on September 11, 2001, and as we watched those events unfold, none of us could imagine the collapse of the buildings and the events that have transpired in the seven years since.
Still, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani handled his role well, helping to reassure his city and the country at a time when they needed it most.
Some of that was certainly his personal strength -- character that propelled him along an unsuccessful run for the White House.
But some of Giuliani's performance that sunny fall day was a simple example of "practice makes perfect." Much of his speech, including the memorable "one death is too many" phrase, was from a script prepared far in advance by emergency planners and practiced by city personnel not long before the terrorist attacks.
It's a good example of how a little preparation can make a big difference when the unexpected happens, even an event as massive as the one that occurred in New York City.
We're thankful that most of us will never have to face something like that, but we never know.
In our region, we're more likely to face flood or blizzard, but regardless the danger, preparing in advance pays off.
That's why President Bush has proclaimed September as "National Preparedness Month" across the United States, urging all Americans to make plans to keep themselves and their families better safe in an emergency.
People like the Region 15 Emergency Management Agency are helping implement the plan, which includes four simple steps:
* Get a kit. Make up a kit of emergency supplies so that you and your family could survive for up to three days in the event of an emergency.
* Make a plan. Plan as a family in advance on what to do in the event of an emergency.
* Be informed. Familiarize yourself and family of threats that could affect you in some way.
* Get involved. Take a first aid or CPR class, or volunteer in a Community Emergency Response Team.
"This is a great way for families to network with each other and form a plan that works for everyone," said Pat Gerdes, director of the Region 15 Emergency Management Agency.
By working together as a family on the plan, communication problems that occur during a real life ordeal may be prevented.
There are many useful tools available through your local Emergency Management Agency, Public Health Department or on the Internet, Gerdes added. Check out www.phelpsgov.org/gov/emergency or www.ready.gov