Progress for tomorrow: Preparing for the next disaster
MR. LONG: Anyone? I'll ask one. Given any natural disaster, bio-terrorist event, or any kind of emergency situation, what is - and I would like to hear from each panel member very briefly, what is the one thing given the status quo, without further funding, without anything else that we could be doing right now with only the resources we have at hand that individuals and/or local communities should do right now to prepare for the next emergency. What is a practical thing that they could do right this very minute.
ATKINSON: I would say insist that everyone locally elected, everyone at all levels communicate on the issue and communicate, and coordinate those resources and have a plan, not ignore the issue. We have heard that come up today. I think individuals have to take care of themselves, but at the same time we have a responsibility to coordinate these resources. In many cases, while we need streams of future research money, and as you heard today, future funding, we can do a much better job of coordinating existing resources if we can just get people together at all levels of the public/private sector.
HEALY: Dr. Benjamin.
BENJAMIN: I think they can have these discussions at their local community meetings, whether it's the PTA or the Homeowners Association or whatever community group you work for, whether it's the service organization, whether it's the union. I think they all need to sit down and ask themselves what would we do if something bad happened, and how would we work together to resolve that as a community.
INGLESBY: With what is on the table today, I think people should plan on looking in on their neighbors in a crisis and making sure that they're getting what they need to get through the crisis. If we have a year or two and a little bit of money, we would obviously do a lot of things, but I think the World Trade Center, the neighborhood associations took care of each other in the buildings that had no nothing came in and out of apartment buildings for days and they all took care of each other and brought food to each other and probably helped manage this from afar, but that I think the short term.
HEALY: Up close.
KELLERMAN: We have to have effective regional planning and drills meaningful drills and practice, and not just guns and hoses, fire and police; it has got to be the transportation sector, energy, food, and very importantly and remarkably often missing from these discussions, the health sector: emergency care, hospitals, and public health, and you have got to talk to one another, not past one another.
HEALY: Should we include civilians, the public in that?
KELLERMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
HEALY: I think you told me not too long ago in one of our conversations that we do all of these top-offs, but we don't always engage the actual people who are going to be critical to making the good things happen.