Friday, November 21, 2014

Urban disaster plans

The general public, beyond the prepper, Glenn Beck, and sustainable crowds is slowly becoming more comfortable with the idea of local resilience.  Granted this all about preparations for local disasters, but it is far better than what has been in place: essentially nothing.
Disaster Plans Go Hyperlocal
Neighborhoods in Some Cities Work to Be Self-Sufficient in Case of Emergency
Jim Carlton, Wall Street Journal (hard copy) 20 November 2014
San Francisco - I f a devastating earthquake were to hit this city, local officials hope to deploy a new weapon: residents trained as emergency response teams to help neighborhoods fend for themselves until water and other services are restored.
"We need to be ready to go the distance, life five days," said Daniel Homsey, director of the city's Neighborhood Resilience program, which so far has organized volunteer teams in three communities...
San Francisco is among 10 U.S. cities that have signed onto a program called 100 Resilient Cities started last year by the Rockefeller Foundation. Other American cities include New York, Los Angeles, and Boulder Colo., while international cities include Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and Melbourne, Australia.
Michael Berkowitz, a managing director for the foundation, said the program was created after emergency-response officials began noticing close-knit neighborhoods in places like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and New Jersey after superstorm Sandy, rebounded faster from the disaster than the ones where neighbors didn't know each other.
...ideas have included stockpiling communal food and water to holding more block parties. 
Notice that this is really disaster prepping.  But since it is big city governments, who have to appeal to the left-leaning crowd, they use buzz words like "resilience", and I am sure somewhere in there they through around "sustainability" as well.
I am encouraged that at least some municipalities are getting a little more serious about helping themselves.  I realized that they don't have much budget, but skimping on existential items, even low ones with a low immediate likelihood of usage, has been shown many times to be disastrous: think Dykes and New Orleans. 
I would also suggest that those who are of a more rightward inclination, but have family, neighbors, and friends, who they would like to get somewhat on board, main stream programs like this are a strong foot in the door, and using acceptable language (resilience, sustainability, community) also go a long way to smoothing the path.