Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Seven, Not Three

Eric Holdeman, the director of the King County (WA) Office of Emergency Management (i.e., Seattle) published an opinion piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that diverged from the DHS standard for personal preparedness.

Rather than be ready for 3 days without assistance, Holdeman writes, citizens should be ready for a week on their own:

If you are planning to be on your own for only three days, you are doing only the absolute "minimum" necessary to keep safe, warm and well fed after a disaster.

We should all plan for a minimum of seven days of preparedness. Seven days is how long it will take the federal government to mobilize resources and deploy them to a disaster area.

Does seven days sound like a lot? Consider a worst-case pandemic flu scenario, where a wave of infection can last 12 weeks; or a catastrophic earthquake ... Not only will we lose power, but also our bridge and overpass-dependent transportation system will be disrupted for months, hampering the movement of disaster supplies, food and goods.
Holdeman's advice is sensible. But the real question is how to encourage citizens to actually make their kits and plans. Being prepared for a disaster is one of those things that people never get around to.

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