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Hurricane Irene: Preparation and Response

While Hurricane Irene could have been much, much worse, it cut a wide swath of damage and flooding across more than six states as well as Puerto Rico. With the experience of Hurricane Katrina in mind, however, FEMA and other homeland security agencies as well as the National Guard and DoD, were leaning forward in making preparations to face the storm, doing whatever was possible to prepare. While the toll the hurricane took on the U.S. remains to be completely calculated, a combination of good luck and good preparation would seem to have minimized the damage and loss of life.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-10734">
    Electa Kunselman

    From a boots on the ground perspective, citizen preparation and planning are keys to good disaster outcomes. To paraphrase the slogan of a favorite preparedness products vendor, when disaster strikes, the time to prepare is past.

    I shudder at stories about people holding hurricane parties. Not only are they placing themselves in jeopardy but they are also placing the lives of Coast Guard and National Guard personnel at risk.

    Personally, I chose to ride out Hurricane Irene in a remote and austere environment. This was a calculated risk based on observation, data, and experience. I was fully aware of the implications. If things had gone badly, it would have been immoral to have expected to be rescued. I would not ask for nor expect help.

    Governmental agencies need to center their public outreach campaigns on individual responsibility. FEMA’s guidelines do not go far enough. The reality is this: 72 hours of food, water and other supplies are not enough. In a wide scale disaster, response agencies are overwhelmed easily and early. Help may not arrive for quite some time.

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-chuck-oldham bypostauthor odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-10735">

    The headline I saw Sunday that worried me the most was “Hurricane Irene Fails to Wow New Yorkers.” So next time around, these are going to be the people who will want to stay put instead of evacuating, and we’ve all seen the worst that can happen when a lot of people do just that. I hope they won’t expect Coast Guard helos to be flying in concrete canyons and high winds to pull their sorry butts off of rooftops.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-10914">

    I cant even believe that the government would bring up lack of funds to help out hurricace Irene victims. There should never be a time that any government says there is a limit to the resources that are available for victims who have lost their homes and their lives. I am ashamed to hear the discussion even brought up from FEMA and it does not belong in the media. We should focus more on helping those in need knowing that there will be every effort made to make sure funds are always set aside for disaster relief.