Impactful disasters often provoke an emotional and sometimes knee-jerk reaction – hindsight opens the door for a multitude of discussions about what could have been done to enhance preparedness and what should be done to mitigate future risk.
The immediate urgency created in a disaster’s aftermath is immense and far-reaching. Driving this urgency is often (understandably), a personal sense of regret that as individuals, there was a failure to undertake the necessary actions to mitigate the impacts of the disaster, inasmuch as those actions were reasonable, e.g. “if we had better storm shelters…”, “if only we had enough fresh supplies…”, etc.
Alabama’s Manufactured Housing Commission (“MHC”) and other entities have become entangled over the appropriate jurisdiction, bidding, construction, inspection, sale, etc. of effective tornado shelters.
However, it is important to note that the intervention of lawmakers and Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency (“EMA”) is trying to remove barriers to installation of smaller, private shelters holding 12 or fewer people. This action may indicate that there may be smaller obstacles to be faced for smaller, private shelters.
It is anticipated that there is nothing preventing individuals, businesses, or cities from taking the initiative to protect themselves, rather than depending on the county or other state agencies for that protection. Therein lies a huge opportunity for action on a personal level.
In rural or isolated areas across the United States, personal preparedness for individuals and families is encouraged with slogans like “The First 72 are on You”, designed to deter reliance on public agencies in the first few days and increase the likelihood of a return to a “new normal” after an event. That message is not limited to rural residential areas – it is applicable to every individual, family and business vulnerable to a natural or man-made disaster.
While focused on the application of “manufactured” shelters, the article does not discuss the ability to design and build “brick and mortar” or traditionally constructed shelters. Next week we’ll look at the possibility and implications of building a shelter under current building code and agency requirements, rather than waiting for the red tape to be cut.
Firestorm’s firm belief that Every Crisis is a Human Crisis begins with disaster preparedness at home. Individual and family preparedness and resiliency, allows individuals – as business employees – the peace of mind that their families are cared for as their focus turns outward to assisting their businesses recover. We have found that across most companies, 95% of employees do not have a plan at home. If employees do not have a clear strategy for their families, emergencies or disasters can force a choice between family and work, and family will always trump work.
Reliance on immediate assistance and response from local government in a disaster should not be the only strategy for recovery. Firestorm’s Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America takes individuals and employees through a process that helps them create their plan at home, ensuring a more rapid return to work and the ability to restore a sense of “normalcy”.