Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

May 19, 2013

OUR VIEW: Are you prepared for a disaster?

— Even before we close the book today on our five-week series of disaster preparedness, headlines came pouring in about tornadoes ripping through Texas. As the death toll continues to rise, it’s the nation’s most violent and deadly outburst of tornadoes this year. And the season’s just getting started.

Bulldozers used to clear the way for rescue teams looking for people trapped in the debris were all part of plans put in place long ago. It’s the same plans our local, state and federal officials are putting in place in case of a similar natural disaster here.

Our series focused on these efforts and why they’re so important to the general public and individual families.

We told you about Cass County’s electronic mass notification system and officials’ belief it will help get the message of possible dangers out faster.

We told you about the city/county planning department’s proposed floodplain map changes and how they might affect you.

We told you about the work officials in Cass and Pulaski counties are doing to better prepare residents, through emergency education, practice drills and localized sirens.

But all we can do is tell you. We can’t come into your homes and make sure your family has a plan, and neither can local, state or federal emergency management agencies. To some extent, we’d probably all like to because we obviously care about your safety. Why else would we devote five Sundays to such coverage?

It’s now up to you.

You have to sign up for the county’s mass notification system.

You have to be smart about where you build.

You have to attend educational programs put on by the local health department to educate yourself and your family on what to do in case of an emergency.

You have to heed the warning sirens if and when they go off.

None of these we can do for you. We know it’s easy to think it will never happen to me and my family, so I can ignore all that. But that’s a dangerous assumption to make. And if our online poll from last week is any indication — 81 percent of respondents said they did not have a detailed plan in case of emergency — many are making that assumption.

We’re in no way advocating you become a doomsdayer and pack a reinforced bunker with a decade’s worth of supplies. We simply urge you to put together a disaster plan and make sure everyone in your family knows what the plan is. It doesn’t have to be an intricate, thorough course of action down to the nth degree. It can simply be deciding on a meeting spot and predetermining who is responsible for what.

As you read today’s final installment, which focuses on earthquakes and their very real threat right here in Indiana, we hope you take the message to heart and make the decision to prepare yourself.

If you don’t, no one else will.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

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