Having realistic expectation regarding government assistance in a disaster
There's been a lot of complaining about a lack of adequate government and from non-government aid organizations. I agree, it's been pathetic. I suspect a lot of it is from lack of leadership, and that's inexcusable when the weather is so cold and people might get very ill from exposure or die. But I wonder, just how quickly these organizations can help, and to what degree they can help? I think a lot of people have very unrealistic expectations about this process.
What do you think is a reasonable amount of time for first responders to arrive? Chances are, it's a function of how high taxes are imposed coupled with hiring enough of EMT/Paramedics, Firemen, Policemen, State Troopers, etc. There's some help from lots of different people, and in order to have a faster response, then more people must be available to deploy. Even if we doubled the amount of them, then it seriously wouldn't have been enough, would it? You can't practically have a big enough force of them, not to handle a disaster.
Lots of mistakes were made. The worst, I feel is that there were not supplies on hand, so even things like water have to bid on a contract, which is fairly normal, but the weird part was that it happened so late. I'd imagine tons of other things like gas, generators, MREs, etc were also bid at the last minute.
Of course, if things we're just sitting in a warehouse, then they have to be deployed by trucking and personnel. It's always a gamble as to how much to have sitting on hand. Maybe if a little more money was spent on relatively cheap items like these and less on so much security, then I'd have more sympathy for FEMA.
After the trailer debacle in Hurricane Katrina, well the worst aspect of cheap bidding came in and bit them in the butt. Remember what happened? The trailers produced terrible fumes from using raw wood or preservatives, and when the victims finally got the trailers, then to stay in them caused severe reactions. It's not like we can have tons of these very expensive items sitting around, not unless everyone is up for higher taxes again. There are alternatives. There have been proposals for all kinds of rapid housing units that are relatively cheap. I think we should be doing research into this area.
But ignore all of that. How fast do you want to be taken care of? There's always going to be a delay. The very best way to take care of your needs is going to be to purchase prepper gear and have skills and have a plan. Even with all of that, sometimes you have to get the heck of Dodge, because there's too much of a chance of loss of utilities and supply chains. While that's a very expensive option, it has to be planned for because sometimes bugging out is really the best option.
Assistance will usually be offered in layers of importance based upon assessment. That means that after first responders arrive, then utility crews, then it's the next level of personnel like the FEMA assessment crew. This crew has to make some rough estimates based upon percentages. It takes time. Some assessment is more technical. Say someone has to decide how bad a home has been hurt in the disaster. In the meantime, those people don't have homes so it's really up to them and their neighbors to help.
Then sometimes the utility crew takes a look at the amount of damage, and they realize that while they can re-establish power or water, maybe there's too many leaks or downed wires or flooded panels or whatever to the homes themselves. They sure can't get your home up and running if it's totaled.
A lot of you will probably be angry at this post. Believe me, I have lots of compassion for the victims. Many are extremely poor, medically fragile, elderly, mentally ill, etc. Priority has to be given based upon something like triage. It's a medical term in which people are assessed as to their depth of being wounded. In this case, someone should be passing along information to other responders. That communication can probably be improved, but their role is to act fast and keep working. Time spent in a lot of communication means less time responding.
Honestly, people should have food and water in three days, but with a disaster over a widespread area, it's all about how many people and supplies you're going to deploy and guessing where it's going to hit. Otherwise you're reacting not responding, so what should have happened was supplies and personnel should have been moved on day one. At the worst, you moved the material part way, and had to change the final destination, and/or you moved too much and it went out to sea. Regardless, there was a pretty chance it was hitting New England, so moving it in that direction is better than waiting to react three days later.
If you're talking about a military response, then you're talking a lot of days to redeploy forces from whatever activities they're currently engaging in. It's not like they're sitting around. If you're talking the National Guard, most of those folks work and have to be called up and then you're creating a shortage of people from whatever occupation they're currently working in. Even then, many of the National Guard are being used in regular roles versus the old paradigm of calling them up for active duty. They're already active.
I've heard really bad remarks about the Red Cross based upon what the administration makes, particularly the CEO. Well, that's not but a handful of people. The majority of people in the Red Cross are volunteers. That means that they can come and help, but if you're very far away, then they have to take vacation to help out, and so it costs them to help out. The Red Cross has a deservedly bad rap in that one of the first things they do is public relations. They put out the flags and wear the t-shirts and make sure everyone notices there on the scene, and that rubs people raw, especially when they've got nothing to eat or drink and are cold. Believe me, the person that's probably giving you hot coffee isn't to blame.
The reality is whatever the response, it's never going to be fast enough. The only way to realistically cut down on the response time is to have supplies on hand, learn skills, and be willing to assist neighbors in helping out and organizing.
Right now with the current economy, people are barely hanging on. When you're barely hanging on, then you have no extra money for buying expensive knives, guns, too much ammunition, expensive MREs, what-have-you. You can though make your own rocket stove out of bricks, or scrap tin cans and sand. It just takes a minimum of ability. You can check out books from the library and spend some time doing an assessment based upon what flora and fauna are in your area should you need to hunt, fish, or forage for them. In many cases, there are people and youtube videos and free material if you'll move away from the television and attempt to learn them. You can identify the trees and shrubs in your area in all seasons so you can harvest from them. You can exercise so you have more upper body strength and stamina. You can practice making a fire with minimal equipment, and work towards making one from flint (chert probably) and steel. You can practice making a water bio-filter for less than fifty dollars. You can identify the ferns in your area so you can gather the roots to make a working soap. You can buy up to three months of medicines sometimes for a reduced price. This way you have extra on hand.
Read through this topic. Most of it is about free ways to prep. The fastest way to respond is from your own two hands. It's not just for you, but your family, and friends in the area, and the strangers who don't prepare that may end up becoming close friends afterward.