Friday, November 7, 2008

Don't Wait!

One of the “tests” President-elect Obama may face in his first six months may be the threat of another terrorist attack, or (God-forbid) a terrorist attack that actually succeeds against our citizens on our homeland. It’s a reality that, even with a “hope” and “change” President; terrorists are also chanting “yes, we can.” They will certainly want to see how President Obama will respond, or if he will respond. I know that several federal agencies and the military have prepared contingency plans for all types of terrorist threats and attacks. I also know that state and local governments have planned and prepared for all types of possibilities. Even some businesses have done some planning. Wonderful! We should plan and prepare. Have you? Individuals and families need to be prepared to face and react to the very-real possibility that communities, schools, businesses, or homes may be targets. Nothing is safe or sacred to a determined terrorist.

So, I urge you to review your plans and preparations, if you’ve prepared them. If it’s been a while, pull them out, dust them off, and remind your family about the plans you’ve made. If you haven’t prepared a plan, start today! You need to educate yourself and your family on how to respond to various emergencies. You need to decide what you and your family are going to do if an emergency happens. Then discuss your emergency plan with your family (and/or friends). Remember, a good family emergency plan will have several parts, including; a plan for emergency communications, a plan for evacuating, and a plan for staying-in-place. The Department of Homeland Security has a pretty good brochure that will help with your planning, so does FEMA and the American Red Cross as well as several state and local government entities. The important thing is that you decide what can be decided now, and discuss it with those that need to know (even your kids).

Of course any preparedness plan should include making an emergency supply kit, sometimes called a 72-hour kit because most agencies recommend a family be able to survive for 72-hours on their own to allow government agencies to reconstitute and get services back up and running (or if that’s impossible, to evacuate folks out of the area). There’s a lot of information on 72-hour kits on the internet (and even some ready-made kits that you can buy). Most important is for you to figure out what you’re family will need to survive on its own for 3-days; then get those things together in one, easy-to-find spot. The kit should be portable, so don’t include things you really don’t need.

One of the most poignant things about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is the story of Rick Rescorla, the Director of Security for Morgan Stanley. After the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Mr. Rescorla developed evacuation plans for Morgan Stanley employees and made them practice the plans every three months. As a result, when the terrorists used passenger planes as guided missiles and struck the towers on 9/11, Morgan Stanley employees knew exactly what to do and where to go. Despite instructions for people to stay where they were, Mr. Rescorla ordered Morgan Stanley employees to evacuate. They did. Morgan Stanley had 2700 employees who worked in World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1000 employees who worked in World Trade Center Building 5. Because they had an evacuation plan, because they had practiced, and because of Mr. Rescorla’s insight and stubbornness, all but 6 Morgan Stanley employees survived the attack. Unfortunately, Mr. Rescorla was not one of them. The Rick Riscorla and Morgan Stanley 9/11 story is one of the best examples why everyone needs to plan for emergencies. Do it now. Don’t wait. We’re all targets.

1 comment:

Rebecca said... also has some great ready made 72 hour kits you can purchase. If you use the code SAVE10, you can save 10% at checkout.