|This kind of effort is definitely required during an emergency|
|Definitely an emergency for this family|
Where we sometimes fall down is explaining to our residents, members of the media and even sometimes to members of our own organizations what truly constitutes an emergency. I can distinctly remember the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 here in the Tampa Bay area. While the season was scary for Pinellas County, the amount of damage we experienced was so little when compared to other parts of the state.
And, when FEMA employees were sent into the field with fliers containing information on where people could get assistance, storm-weary residents who were without power for a week or so were quick to vent their anger at them. Where is the federal money? Who is coming to restore my power? Where can I get ice? Can't you tell this is an emergency?
The amazing thing was that one block away, the local grocery store was open, fully powered and it had bags of ice they were selling at a steep discount to help residents keep their food - and themselves - cool.
|A water heater prepared for earthquakes using steel straps|
The best way for us to define an emergency is to set our own terms. A population is much more ready to weather any situation when they have the know-how, supplies and plans in place before the disaster happens. Once the event outstrips that, then you know you have an emergency on your hands.
Tom Iovino, Public Relations Strategist
Hillsborough County, Florida