“As Police and Firefighter Numbers Fall, Officials Urge Prep”
“As police and firefighter numbers dwindle, authorities urge personal responsibility in disasters.”
“Last year, FEMA released its 2018-22 Strategic Plan for disaster response, which emphasized ‘shared responsibility across all layers of government down to the individual.’ In other words, residents of the affected communities are their own first responders.
“‘If you’re talking about a sudden large-scale disaster, there will never, ever, ever be enough professional first responders right when they’re needed, right when a disaster strikes,’ Simpson said. ‘Everybody is a first responder.’
“Even FEMA defines first responders as those closest to the impacted areas during an emergency or disaster. In FEMA’s after-action report on the 2017 hurricane season, residents and nonprofit organizations were among those who lessened the burden on fire, police and emergency medical services.
“‘We’ve kind of built up this mythology that somebody is going to be there and save you,’ former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said. ‘And the person that saves you is maybe yourself or your neighbor.’
“In parts of the country, ordinary Americans are learning about what disasters they can expect and how they should be prepared for the aftermath.”
“Community Emergency Response Teams [CERT] were created so that local and state emergency departments could have trained volunteers to respond in emergency situations. CERT became a national program in 1993 and now has over 2,700 local programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since the program’s inception,” by Jake Goodrick, Brigette Waltermire, Natalie Anderson, Christian Gravius, Associated Press.