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Which to Restore First? Communications or Transportation?

For earthquakes it can be different.

If you ask emergency mangers the question “Which infrastructure should be restored first following a disaster?” most will say communications. The rationale being that you need communications up and running to get all the other infrastructures restored, along with the disaster response operations.

As the earthquake in Morocco is showing, with earthquakes and even here in the United States, I think that it is transportation systems that need restoration first, or you will not be able to reach the communications systems that need restoration.

There have been arguments back and forth on this topic, but I recall many federal officials when discussing the disaster response to a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake who spoke about the difficulties of getting people and resources to where they will be needed due to the transportation issues likely to be encountered.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.