September is Preparedness Month!

As I am writing this on August 30, 2021, we are seeing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ida. It is also the day 16 years ago that the people of New Orleans realized that in fact, they had not dodged a bullet with Hurricane Katrina. On this date in 2005, we realized that the levees had failed and the city and surrounding parishes were overwhelmingly flooded. Where we thought we were prepared, we were brutally made aware that we had not conceived and planned for such a catastrophic event. Tragically, we saw a failure of governments at the local, state, and federal levels to collaborate in preparing and in response.

Over the most recent 18 months, we have once again been overwhelmed by an event that not only threatened our continuity of operations, our continuity of government, but ultimately threatened the continuity of our society. We had not planned for a threat of this scope. We had not focused on the most vulnerable in our society. And much like in Katrina, rather than pulling together as a people with a common purpose, we fragmented into feuding interest groups, applying fear, anger, and self-serving political and ideological argumentation when we needed rational discourse, unity, and selflessness. This must be corrected if we are to remain a resilient and strong Nation with purpose.

During this month of September, we have an opportunity to consider the tools and approaches that may benefit us most as individuals, and as communities. Through weekly blogs, I hope to offer some ideas about what those tools are, and how they may benefit people in disaster events.

But ultimately, the impact of preparedness and the ability to recover from a disaster depends on a unified community-wide commitment to plan and act together. Take the opportunity this month to consider whether you and your community have joined together to examine the tools of preparedness, response, and recovery. Learn more where you have questions about terms and tools. But more than anything else, take the time to consider how important your family and community are to you and find the best means possible to enlist yourself in working with others to assure that your community is truly prepared.

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