I have been watching the news reports on Fox News, WRAL, and other outlets of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. With great dismay I have seen the footage of hurricane victims looting, killing, raping, and starving. One thing I can say is that the city of New Orleans was woefully unprepared for this event.
That city was warned years ago of such a possibility and was given millions in federal funding to improve itself in case of terrorist attack to its levees. That city has days to evacuate its residents, gather food and supplies, and prepare in general. Since far less was done than was obviously necessary, the city's mayor has been cussing out the federal government for their supposedly slow attention. Meanwhile, the looting, killing, rape, and starvation continues.
We don't see this sort of problem here after a hurricane for several reasons. First, we are not below sea level and our area doesn't quite get wiped out with a total flood. Floyd tried hard and took out a lot of farms, but it is different here in North Carolina. Next is that we take evacuations seriously by comparison. The majority of people on the coast have transportation since it is a tourist area and we don't have mass transit for people to rely on. Our cities are not half a million in population all crammed into a sinful spectacle such as "The Big Easy".
Even with a town as small as Selma, I believe in being prepared AHEAD OF TIME. One thing that was drilled into my head from early on in my public service career was preplanning. I assisted in preplanning for fires, chemical spills, mass casualty situations, explosions, and the like in town in which I grew up. In college, we were taught about incident preplanning and systematic city wide planning in municipal fire management class. These were foreign concepts to the people I came to work with at NC State University, apparently. However, it still served me well when I worked with incident command and handled fires and emergencies on that campus.
I believe that it is the town council's job to facilitate this planning and preparedness and to create the environment in which the town servants can cooperate as well as know that the materials and tools they need will be provided. Public works employees need to be prepared to assist the fire department when needed. The police and fire departments need to work well together in their assigned duties. Tools and equipment need to be available or supplied rapidly through cooperative agreements with other neighboring towns. Training needs to be provided and encouraged. I believe in providing the best possible training we can. I believe in drills, disaster preparedness, and providing for essential municipal services as a priority. Well equipped fire, police, and public works departments come before dog parks and gymnasiums.
I am not opposed to gymnasiums and public parks and recreation at all. I benefitted from a small town's P&R department. However, they did well with what they had for the size town it was and still is.
As a town, we can't do every good idea just because it is a good idea. We must, however, focus on the priorities and the rest comes into play after the priorities are met. In my home, we make sure that the mortgage, the utilities, and the insurance bills are paid before we do other bills. Then, we take care of the other bills before we do things that are good ideas. We can be no different as a town.