In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

“What Should We Tell The Public?” — Jan Lane

July 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Jan Lane is the Deputy Director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is a former senior official at the American Red Cross and is a long-time advocate for as well as expert in civilian preparedness.

In this segment, Jan says citizens need to realize that they will likely be their own first responders in the first 72 hours after a disaster, and therefore it is in their best interest to prepare themselves and their families for that possibility. And she also makes the excellent point that sometimes fear, if warranted, can be a good motivator for getting some people to act and take those first steps towards personal preparedness. 


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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 MAJ Noel Gniady // Aug 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I am a Major in the US Army and currently working on a Master’s thesis on Disaster Response operations at the US Army Command and General Staff College. Based on findings from my primary research, I believe Jan Lane is correct in her assessment. It is vitally important that everyone understand that disaster preparedness is an individual responsibility. Hurricane Katrina is an interesting case study: in many instances, individuals were informed of impending danger and still chose to remain in high risk areas believing that if disaster struck the Federal government would rescue them. The key message that the public needs to understand is: first, know what you can and cannot handle on your own; second have a plan; three, contact your local emergency management authorities for the latest guidance on disaster preparedness. A good disaster preparedness plan includes enough provisions to sustain oneself for the first 72+ hours. This time allows first-responders to link-up with their equipment, gain situational awareness, and begin life-saving rescue operations. One point frequently overlooked is first-responders often live and work in the affected area. This underscores the need for self-sufficiency in the first 72 hours post-disaster. In general, I think there is a lot of work to be done in making sure the public is fully aware of the impacts that different disasters will have on their community and they need to begin thinking about preparedness from the same all-hazards perspective as the emergency management community.

    MAJ Noel Gniady
    US Army

    This commentary does not reflect the opinions of the DOD, US Army or US Army Command and General Staff College. They are the sole opinion of the author and any comments should be directed to the author.

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