My mom headed Damage Control after the Good Friday quake in Alaska in April 1964 - it was not discussed much but 4 days after the earthquake a team was sent up O'Malley Road to the rich house of the head of the civil organization designed to respond in case of an emergency. He and his entire immediate family were discovered huddled in their living room wrapped in blankets with no heat, no food or drink, and not even the fireplace burning, with the head of the household repeating over and over again - "the world has come to an end". He had lost it.
Some people are not actually capable of responding in a emergency whether they are listening to a reading of "My pet goat" and being told their country is under attack, or while on vacation being told that one of the largest cities in the country is now devastated and underwater and needs their help.
People like my mom can arise and step up to the challenge as long as no one is holding a gun pointed at their head and telling them to stop.
We need to issue a Press Pass to everyone in the country so they can be free to move about.
Also a plan and deploy approach to managing civil order makes sense.
In my Mom's case she set up the Civil Disaster Headquarters with all available volunteer civil engineers, architects, building inspectors, planners, and people capable of estimating damage and handling emergency rescue operations (meeting first in the Z. J. Loussac Public Library.)
A man drove up a front loader and some kind of truck and strode into the headquarters offering to sell his services and rent his gassed up heavy equipment for $50 an hour -- the men in the room took one look at the guy and without breaking their discussion on evacuating Seward, and other communities, as one picked the man up by all four limbs and heaved him out of the office, just as if it was part of their mission.
Monday, September 05, 2005
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