I stopped at the State armory and unloaded five bags of clothes for the hurricane victims. I was ruthless going through my closet. Every Christmas I get a sweater from my father and his wife. They sit in my closet because I rarely wear anything besides my work clothes and then jeans or workout clothes when I am off. I piled a bunch of them into the bags. When I got to the armory, I felt good, but thought I should go back and get the rest of my clothes and bundle them up to.
I’m on a list at work to be sent down to Mississippi/Alabama to help out, but don’t know if I will get deployed. They are sending five people every five days. I think the problem with me going is I work six days a week so it is like having to replace two people. We’ll see.
It is my understanding that the company has sent an extra hundred ambulances and five hundred EMTs and a paramedics to the area where they have a base of operations. There is something to be said here for the benefits of a big ambyulance company in their quick ability to mobilize resources.
I have a large number of unexpected expenses lately. The columns in front of my house and the trim have been rotting so I have had to replace the columns and am getting the trim vinyl covered. My front teeth fell out a week ago, leading to a $2000 dental bill (and I have insurance) to get the proper dental work done and a replacement bridge put in. My computer died. I feel bad whinning about it in light of the situation down on in the Gulf states. It all demands a certain perspective.
I just read an excellent column this week from USA Today:
I am regoing through my house to find anything — clothes, canned goods, blankets — anything I don’t truly need that I can donate.
I have been upset by the government’s priorities in recent years and by its complete bungling of the situation in New Orleans and the area both before and after the hurricane hit. By misusing resources, appointing unqualified people to key posts and just plain not showing needed leadership — it has failed the American people. But I have to say my faith in the country has been renewed not by the politicians, but by the common men and women of the country. The number of people volunteering and giving freely is staggering, and being down at the armory, you couldn’t help but be swept up by it. Clearly the storm has taught us that people matter. I’d like to see this lesson passed on beyond the moment and imbedded in our government policies permanently.
Here’s a few other editorials and articles that I have found interesting.
New Orleans Growing Danger — an article from the Philidelphia Inquirer last October forecasting the threat and possible damage from a killer hurricane.
New Orleans Crisis Shames Americans — an early (September 4) BBC view of the crisis.
United States of Shame — a scathing indictment of the government’s bungling.
Americans Give Record Amounts — an account of American’s generosity.
Before the Flood — a column about how Americans responded to the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
Later I read an interesting article in the local paper. The basic premise is that where have all these kind souls(donating clothes, food, and shelter) been when in our own city people are drowning in poverty. Shelters are overflowing, people are homeless and needy here.
“It’s easier to drop off a check, a case of water or a few bags of diapers for the victims in New Orleans and feel like we did our part. Easier to avert our eyes when the calamity is just the daily drip, drip, drip of poverty all around us.”
Sort of puts a damper on my self-congratulatory clothing donation at the armory. The writer has a point.
I think the hurricane is not yet done with us. I hope that it reshapes our national and local thinking. I sense a growing anger in the public as the days go past. I don’t buy the latest spin that this is not the time to finger-point after the same people have just been finger=pointing themselves trying to deflect the critisim against them. You need to finger point. You need to find the blame, find the problems, and fix them so they don’t happen again, even when the finger is pointing at your own nose — our own noses.
Here in this state for decades we have been talking about the shape of our EMS system, and we say — it is going to take a tragedy to get people to pay attention. They say to the people in New Orleans — you knew this was going to happen and what did you do? You knew there were problems.
A month or so ago there was a big accident in a nearby town, a truck barrelled down a mountain and smashed into a bunch of cars. Several people were killed, many more injured. Even though the top administrative commanders all got medals from the Governor, the word from the street people was the scene was a disaster — complete chaos. Nobody was talking to anyone else. Here in this state, you have many different local services, many chiefs, many chiefdoms.
It’s been 4 years since 911 and I have recieved no relevant training in that time. I haven’t been to one mass casualty drill nor given any new equipment. Something blows up in this town today, I will be the first one on scene, and I will be acting by the seat of my pants.
The EMS system, for all the good people working on it in this state is fatally flawed because it is not regional, but town by town. There are over two hundered ambulance services in an area smaller than some large state’s counties.
By the way, how is San Francisco’s disaster plan? Are they prepared for their version of a category 4 or 5 Hurricane in the form of an earthquake? Or like New Orleans or this state’s EMS, do they just throw up their hands and say, well, let’s hope it veers off at the last minute, let’s hope we’re lucky, let’s hope its not when I’m on duty.
Breaking news: They have finally just now relieved the political hack running FEMA, relieved him not from his job, just from the hurricane relief effort.
How does a man with no emergency management experience get to run FEMA?