As readers of this blog know, I am advocate of establishing a single national day dedicated to emergency preparedness.Â I believe that it would be very useful to have a specific time each year in which the entire nation focuses on this challenging and sensitive subject.
This day would be the time that we developed and practiced our emergency plans, filled our disaster kits and were briefed on potential threats. This would be useful for both first responders and the public.Â Both Japan and China have specific days — on the anniversary of major earthquakes — in which citizens undertake practice drills. (Some cities and states, such as Kansas, have also picked a particular day within National Preparedness Month to focus attention on the subject.)
The question I have been wrestling with is when that day should be. Personally, I’ve thought that September 11 would be the most appropriate day since it is when Americans are most focused on the issue and as a fitting tribute to those who died. A couple ofÂ preparedness officials I have spoken to object to 9/11, because it is too tied to terrorism rather than all hazards.
However, last week during a press conference call, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate mentioned a fact I didn’t realize — the “peak” of Â the hurricane season is the 2nd week of September, precisely September 1oth. In fact, as Andrew Revkin points out, there are three hurricanes (a rarity) in the Atlantic this week.Â So, I would now suggest either the 10th or 11th which would combine attention on both types of disaster threats.