With that, there are still a large number who believe that it can't happen here. And until recently, this issue has seen limited attention from mainstream media. Until recently. The earthquake in Haiti and results of relief efforts have spurred an uptick in the number of those asking "what if it DID happen here"? In my opinion this is an important indicator of change. Perhaps swinging our preparedness pendulum back to center from way over on the terrorism end of the scale.
A snapshot of this is illustrated by numerous articles and one such example can be read in Newsvine and coming from MSNBC.com. So, lets take a look at a few quotes from that article and relate comment:
"The White House and the Capitol have been destroyed. Congress and critical government agencies overseeing finance, health and other domestic services have been critically impaired. Many of the government employees who used to work in those offices are dead."
This is an important point and underscores the need for local government self-sufficiency. States will be in competition for Federal resources. Those resources will have to be triaged...if they would be available at all...States, cities, towns, communities, and individual families will be on their own. Probably for months.
"The U.S. Interstate highway system has been destroyed (there never was one in Haiti), and travel by road is arduous."
The ability to get aid into the areas effected may not be possible. Travel in and around those areas may not be possible. Refugees may not be able to get out. Local responders will not be able to provide relief.
"There is no FEMA. The well-financed network of local “first responders” that Americans take for granted is gone. "
Well, no FEMA might not be a big deal. Loss of the first responder networks...another story.
"The entire air traffic control system has been destroyed. "
Air travel may be the only way to bring relief materials to states in need or provide evacuation...and in the scope of impact seen in Haiti...where would you evac to?
"The infrastructure to handle marine cargo has been destroyed at the major seaports — New York, Los Angeles, Houston."
OK, we won't get supplies that way either.
"As much as one third of the population (in the U.S., roughly 100 million people) are without food, water or shelter and limited means of acquiring it."
Knowing that a majority of Americans do not have supplies of food or water on hand and that there will be no supermarket to run to magnifies this problem. The loss of water and sanitation will exponentially compound this problem. And no shelter? The lack of Civil Defence style preparedness will force entire communities into the elements. The ripple effect will be huge.
"Millions of survivors are in need of urgent medical attention; many simply won’t receive it — even if relief efforts proceed flawlessly. Most local hospitals have been destroyed. The ones that remain have no supplies. Doctors have resorted to using hacksaws and vodka in place of surgical instruments and alcohol."
When will it be it be time to change from a standard of care to a sufficiency of care? How will we make triage decisions? Who will get care and who will not? Forget surge capacity...no hospitals. Everyone should take a First-Aid class.