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Much has been written about the culture of disaster preparedness in Japan. Very strict building codes, well enforced construction inspections, tsunami sea walls, etc. Given that and the damages and deaths we have seen so far–what about the United States?
See Are U.S. States and Cities Prepared for a Disaster? which is a quick recounting of some of the preparedness measures that are in place. In the article there is one error. Under the earthquake threat I think it should be the Cascadia Subduction Zone that runs off the West Coast of North America from British Columbia to Northern California. The article incorrectly attributes the fault to the San Andreas.
Think about our challenges. A much larger and diverse population. A huge country with a diversity of hazards. No single common culture, and 14th Century like political fiefdoms with conflicting priorities and limited resources. In many ways we are set up for failure when there is a regional catastrophic disaster. Unity of Command may be a major premise for military operations–but it doesn’t exist in the civilian side of disaster response. ICS is not the solution for regional events when adoption of its principles are trumped by political turf.
You can make your own personal assessment, but to me we lag far behind Japan and the repercussions for when it is our turn to have the catastrophe will reverberate across the political spectrum–until we go back to not caring anym
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