The Many Facets Of Disaster Plans

Larry Price
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Wednesday - October 05, 2005
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Even a person with a heart of stone would have a difficult time turning a deaf ear to the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

At the same time, you would need a stomach of cast iron not be revolted by the looters, scam artists and racist remarks from supposedly concerned civic leaders.

Even more disgusting is the incessant finger-pointing going on among the federal, state and city government officials. Obviously, many things went wrong, as any reasonable person would expect during a category 5 hurricane. After all, awareness and preparedness have their limits. Imagining the force of such a catastrophic display from Mother Nature is bad enough without trying to add political agendas.

Sadly, preparing for a hurricane is much more complicated than the media would suspect. Just writing a few articles about “hurricane clips” and how to board up your windows is very shallow. The reason is simple: People don’t listen well, refuse to listen to intelligent people trying to save their lives and don’t respect a “Do Not Enter” sign.

To make matters worse, we have all witnessed, on a regular basis, people who issue emergency warnings and those who enforce such warnings stand idly by while people totally ignore the warnings they have posted. A good example is “High Surf Warnings” with surfers paddling out to challenge the elements in the background. Another is the “jellyfish” signs warning swimmers to stay out of the water or suffer painful stings.

It’s a good bet that if we tried, as we have in the past, to evacuate just 50,000 people from the Waikiki and Ala Moana beach-fronts, we would also have monumental traffic jams. One of the solutions offered last time around was to have the traffic lights rigged to make all of the roads leaving Waikiki and Ala Moana run one way. We don’t seem to have that figured out yet, and I can’t remember whether our first responders tested it to see if it works.

Finally, there is the issue of the “Hurricane Preparedness Kit.” The American Red Cross does a wonderful job of putting together these kits. After watching hours of live television coverage and reading about the problem of looting in catastrophic emergencies like Katrina and Rita, I am convinced the kit needs a couple more items for survival.

I believe a shotgun loaded with rubber bullets is a must to protect one’s self and property from the marauding criminal element that surfaces during a national emergency. It’s obvious that the Honolulu Police Department, civil defense and Sheriff’s Office cannot be expected to be everywhere during a category 5 hurricane.

The most likely scenario is that every man and woman accept the responsibility to protect their property and personal possessions right now, not later. If a deadly hurricane hits Hawaii, and you know it will some day, it’s a good idea to make it a part of your survival plan to protect your own. If we learned anything from watching the coverage of Katrina and Rita, it’s that when saving lives is the No. 1 priority in a catastrophic emergency, stopping criminal activity is way down on the list.

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