Friday, September 7, 2018

Practical preparedness from Craig Fugate

Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column published July 30 2018
by Jean Lowrie-Chin 

US Counselor for Public Affairs Jeremiah
Knight introduces Craig Fugate at the event
at Phoenix Central in Kingston.
 Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, hosted by the US Embassy in Jamaica gave one of the most practical presentations I have ever heard on the subject of disaster preparedness.  

He shared with us ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Emergency Management’:
   1.    We plan for what we are capable to respond to. Instead, he said, we should be planning for the ‘maximum of maximums’.
   2.     We plan for our communities by placing the ‘hard to do’ in an annex – eg small children, elderly, pets. Instead, ‘plan for real, not easy’.
   3.     We exercise to success – unaware that the very responders, equipment that we are depending on, may be unavailable
4.     We think our emergency response system can scale up to manage disasters.
5.     We build our emergency management team around Government, leaving out voluntary organisations, the private sector and the public
6. We treat the public as a liability. He noted that the fastest response you can expect will be from a neighbour. In the Haiti earthquakes, the neighbours did the majority of rescues. 
Craig Fugate in front of a slide showing him touring New York
after the Hurricane Sandy event with then President Obama
7. We price risk too low to change behaviour – as a result, we continue to grow it.

Mr Fugate warned against building in high-risk areas.  He said that Moody’s has warned that climate change will affect us, so we must build resiliency into our projects. He advised that we must refrain from calling survivors ‘victims’ as this kind of language is condescending, not empowering – emergency management should be ‘survivor centric’. 

“The public is a resource,” he declared, noting that while they were shipping in all kinds of equipment to do rescues in Haiti, the Haitians were doing a great job on their own, and it would have been more effective to engage them and spend funds on the resources being offered locally.
“Government can’t do everything,” said Fugate. “Be prepared – remember that earthquakes do not have a season.”

No comments:

Post a Comment