Charles “Buc” Fitch is a frequent contributor to Radio World.
Tornados. Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Hurricanes.
Events of this magnitude, abroad and at home, remind us that when catastrophes happen, we generally don’t handle them well. It doesn’t take much to break down our systems of civilization.
As a personal observation, I contrast us in the United States with the citizenry of Japan. That country has a populace of resilient, disciplined people of action. After their recent natural disasters, for the most part they suffered, persevered and got on with rescue and recovery.
Here, we seem to have a notable contingent of whiners who don’t seem to be able to do much for themselves but complain. Add in a brew of inept leadership that makes decisions on a CYA basis and those who want to attach “rescue and recovery” to a profit motive, and we could easily end up with Katrina redux in spite of the hard lessons we’ve learned.
We cannot do much about the cows around us, the goofballs in the Middle East and “paralysis by analysis” that we find inside the D.C. beltway. But we can do something about getting our stations in order and readiness to do our part — a very important part, a part of immense value — when we get hit by “the next big thing.”
Experienced, sagely thinkers like Larry Titus, John Bisset and other RW contributors have logged in about preparation in previous articles. I’d like to add my experience to this litany with an emphasis on Big Disaster Planning.
The first time I really got into this weighty issue was in 1970 when I attended disaster planning meetings on the Big Island of Hawaii. We were one of only four radio stations on the island.
We recognized the following emergency events that could seriously affect the populace, in descending order:
Violent volcanic eruption with resulting unpredictable lava flows
Pestilence (this included plague, rampant disease, water quality issues, etc.)
Invasion (including fallout)
(Pestilence was not a joke but a real fear. When you’re on an island, you’re in an incubator. Half the indigenous Hawaiian population had been wiped out by diseases brought by missionaries.)