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Knowing and Doing Are Two Different Things

When it comes to disaster preparedness, prepare for excuses.

How many disaster preparedness presentations have you given? Likely you start with the "threat portion" of the presentation. "What do we have to worry about or be concerned with?" That part is based on where you are geographically. In the South, likely hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes. In the West, tornadoes, wind, storms, wildfires. On the West Coast, earthquakes, wildfires, flooding. Midwest, storms, tornadoes, flooding, etc. East Coast ... you know your issues (earthquakes included). 

Then we talk about disaster preparedness. For most of the nation it is three days, or 72 hours, of preparedness. In Washington and Oregon, it is two (that's right, two) weeks.

The challenge is that "most people" know about the hazards, but choose to do nothing about disaster preparedness, for reasons I've covered here in this blog many times before.

I see all of the above being transferable to our current COVID-19 pandemic. People have "moved on" and are ready for summer or protesting, going to the beach or just shopping. They know about the risks, but they are choosing to ignore them since they have not been bitten in the butt so far.

We'll see how that all turns out going forward. What is the major cause of deaths in flooding? Driving around "street closed" barriers and the car gets washed away -- and you have drownings -- ignoring direct warnings!


Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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