Vigilance and Haiti
"It is imperative that we take this opportunity to recognize that these disasters also affect our own communities, and this is the time when increased education of your customers is important: what to do if something like this happens here, who will respond, what your capabilities are and how you plan to address your needs in a disaster, and so on."
Appreciate the props. Not to pile on too much, but any of us who have been through disasters and have tried to develop political (and as a result, financial) support for these initiatives know how long the public's memory lasts between their cries of "why weren't we prepared?" to "this costs too much".
While I by no means believe in exploiting the disaster for emotion's sake, it is a fresh picture of "what can be right here" in the event communities fail to plan.
By NO means am I advocating every community go out and tool up for US&R Ops in heavy construction or something like that. I don't even advocate it at the regional levels: with the exception of California and Florida, one Type 1 US&R TF per state might suffice, based on past history, established resources, and limited application. But EVERY department has the responsibility for knowing their jurisdiction, understanding vulnerability, and if they do not have resources to handle certain situations in their jurisdiction (I would expect 99% have some worst-case scenarios they can't), knowing where to get the resources and having a plan for getting them there as well as interacting.
If disaster struck your community tonight, would you be prepared?