Friday, May 24, 2013

Preparedness and Learning from Experience

Granbury, TX May 2013

Springtime in the US is a time for renewal and growth. It's also a time when warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with Arctic air channeled down by the Rockies from Canada to create some of the most powerful storms nature can produce. The map shows all of the tornado strikes from 1950-2006, what it doesn't show is how the repeated strikes have changed the mentality of those who live in "tornado alley."

                          Moore, OK 2013                                  
This NY Times article asks important questions of why more people run outside to film an oncoming tornado than run inside or underground to protect their loved ones and family members? There is no simple answer, but one big reason is that many don't have a safe room or storm shelter to run to.      

For at least the third time in 14 years, federal     money (taxpayer money) will be funneled to help Moore get back on its feet with initial estimates at $2 Billion in costs. While it's encouraging to read that the Mayor of Moore wants new building codes instituted that require safe rooms, why is reform so slow and in such a piece meal fashion given the historical data available?

If repeated loss of life and property are the only catalysts that will effect change at a local level, then changing how states receive federal aid should be considered; putting additional requirements on federal aid to show how and on what mitigation dollars are going towards will be a tangible step towards creating and reinforcing resilience at a local level. Stopping tornados is impossible, but applying what has been learned to make families safer and communities more resilient with the resources available isn't.  

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