Editorial: Money spent on response is money well-spent

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Hurricane Katrina showed the nation we have much to fear about the state of emergency responses. More money and more training time must be spent to ensure an efficient response to disasters, or if experts are right in their predictions, a pandemic.

The response to Katrina was flawed for a number of reasons, not the least of which was emergency personnel had the same limitations as the rest of the people: they simply were unable to get through in some areas.

We expect a lot from the men and women sent out to rescue and provide relief to people during a natural or other kind of disaster. What we &045; and apparently the government &045; seem to forget is they are not superheroes. They need the proper equipment, vehicles, and plenty of training to ensure a nearly flawless response or at the very least, the ability to adjust in the most fluid of situations.

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Locally, the training session conducted in July proved our responders need better communication equipment. They had a plan for communicating which would have likely worked just fine, but they learned from the training that some equipment was not compatible with other equipment.

Residents should expect emergency people to be efficient in their response to chaotic or disaster situations, but residents and city and county decision-makers must also put their money where their mouth is, allowing emergency and law enforcement people to purchase the necessary equipment and provide for training time.

If we aren’t willing to spend the money for the proper tools and training, we can’t expect a coordinated, efficient response. All the desire to respond well on the part of emergency responders won’t help if they don’t have what they need to do the job well. And that’s what has us frightened.

We applaud what our responders do &045; an awfully good job with what they have. We’d like to see money spent to ensure they have all they need to meet the expectations of residents.