It seemed unreal. They were in complete denial. This is the USA. This can’t be happening thought the young couple as they huddled on the couch together in their Bronx apartment. Hurricane Sandy was on the way. In the wee hours of the morning they heard yelling outside. They looked in horror to see wave after wave of water flooding the streets below. They had no idea if they would survive the night. They didn’t think it could get any worse. Then, the power went out. Sandy was making her claim on the city.
As dawn broke on Day-1 the couple realized the utter devastation of their neighborhood. There was no power. No buses or subways were working. The streets were flooded. Many cars were flooded or floated away. Their own parking basement was flooded along with all the cars. They had heard on the radio that FEMA resources were staging supplies for the survivors at a local elementary school. They walked 12 blocks to get there . They waited 6 hours. FEMA never came. They made their way back to the apartment. They had little food. The electric stove was useless. They spent the night dining on soda crackers, Mayo and soda.
On Day 2 the locals were talking excitedly about a FEMA convoy bringing supplies. They had no idea that Mayor Bloomberg had turned it back because it was escorted by Army National Guard. Those troops were armed. Bloomberg wanted only armed police on the streets. The police were already overwhelmed. The supplies went to a warehouse. FEMA didn’t come.
The events of this crisis did not sit well with this Author. This is not the America of our Forefathers. Many Citizens continue to feel that the government OWES them everything. The self- reliance and ‘Pioneer Spirit’ that we once had seemed to be gone. Urban Americans had gone feral. Like wild dogs, they begin to prey upon each other almost immediately. People had no preparations. They had no water. They were forced into scavenging from dumpsters for survival food. FEMA never came.
Where was the American ingenuity and enterprise we are famous for all over the world? Are people so lazy and dependant on government hand outs that they no longer take any responsibility for their own welfare or that of their families? FEMA isn’t coming. Whatever happens to you is on YOUR shoulders.
If this young couple had just taken a few simple preparations, they would have been fine. That would mean taking personal responsibility. What could they do? Let me count the ways;
1. Don’t be there. If you are warned that the Storm of the Century is coming, get out of the area for a few days.
2. Have a 72 hour or Bug-Out Bag. Have it packed with stuff you are going to need for each person. Check list of what to pack are on the Red Cross web site at www.redcross.org and all over the internet. The important thing is to HAVE ONE. Two is better. One in your car and one in your house would be optimal.
3. Have a PLAN. PANIC is not a plan. Storms, earthquakes and fires happen all the time. Know how you are going to evacuate. Know where to go. Have a communications plan if you get separated. Assume there will be no power or cell phone service. Out of state phone and cell lines will likely not be so busy. Have an out of state contact that you can relay messages through.
4. Be American! This is not France or Pakistan. Cowboy up! Americans step up and help each other. We don’t prey upon each other. That is going to mean that we take responsibility for our own welfare. We might have to help take care of our neighbors too. Make preparations BEFORE the next emergency.
Some people got caught flat footed this time. Get ready for the next one. Take care of yourselves and your families. FEMA isn’t coming.
Dennis Kennedy is Director of the Counterterrorism Institute of America based in Utah. He is a former police Officer and Army Special Forces Weapons NCO. He can be contacted at the web site at www.combat-terror.com or on Facebook.