Huge Number of Disaster Drills Held Throughout America

extraordinary number of drills cause for concern?

Photo: Vicki Lewis, environmental services director for Auburn Regional Medical Center, and maintenance worker Mel Curry prepare the decontamination tent during this week's emergency drill. (Robert Whale/ Auburn Reporter)

June 14, 2010
Holly Deyo

From terrorist attacks and hurricane evacuations to submarine base and nuclear power plant mishaps; bomb blasts, plane crashes, dirty bombs, hazmat spills, earthquakes, medical disasters and train derailments, America is on high alert. Over the past several weeks to the present, more than 35 major disaster drills are taking place throughout America. It makes one wonder what's prompting all of these emergency exercises and planning venues. Was it confusion over Gov. Palin's oft-quoted "drill, baby, drill?" No, it's recognition that the Feds are leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves. States aren't happy about this.

Photo: A member of the Wood County SWAT team watches the backs of team members during a mock drill in Ohio.

Proof? No one has been more vociferous than Gov. Jindal pleading, imploring for help for Louisiana. Obama's ears appear to be stuffed with cotton for all the good it's done. For weeks now, pleas for practical assistance have gone unanswered.

Countless Americans have offered ways to sop up and stop the flow of oil in the Gulf. Has ANYBODY gotten the President's ear or BP's for that matter? People with credentials, people with practical know-how and yes, ordinary American citizens blessed with common sense in finding solutions to extraordinary problems have ALL have been ignored. Yeah, well, maybe Kevin Costner is the exception who's considered an expert in environmental problems. Why did he get a Congressional audience? Because he has a "name".

Next, Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer. Illegal aliens are making life unbearable for citizens who live there. Because the Southwest is off-radar of D.C movers and shakers, the President and policy-makers ignore this massive and growing disaster. Ditto for the Bush administration.

Illegal immigration doesn't just affect citizens of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, Nevada and Colorado, but ALL Americans in the other 44 states. It's more subtle elsewhere. Because your property isn't violated, tons of trash doesn't decorate your land and fences aren't cut down so illegals can flood into our country, people believe they are unaffected. It's a problem "over there" – in the uncivilized West. Have you checked what you're paying in taxes? Looked how schools, hospitals and public agencies are over-burdened? Who's taking America's job while we struggle with nearly 10% unimployment? Have you done your homework and found one of the biggest root causes?

Gov. Brewer was finally forced to sign legislation that does nothing more than underscore what's already on Federal law books. It goes nowhere beyond. Yet, she's been castigated as racial, a bigot, someone who places herself above Federal law. Isn't it interesting that after Gov. Brewer took a stand – alone without Federal backing – that it's catapulted her popularity with her Arizonan constituents. Bravo Ms. Brewer.

If the Feds upheld the Constitution – as written – Gov. Brewer would not have had to endorse Federal law with state provisions. It is a woefully, tragically sorry day when our President resorts to name calling, "ass kicking" and sly innuendo while pasting on a superior smile to get the job done – as he sees it.

Even our President – a man who should be above reproach and blind to color called out Gov. Brewer's legislation for racial profiling. Oh wait, yes, he hadn't even read the bill before verbally torpedoing it. Ditto Holder. Ditto Napolitano. And on and on and on. Shame on you "leaders".

Conspicuously absent

Not among the major disaster drills, conspicuously absent, were ones dedicated to the Gulf oil spill disaster. Maybe government will wing that too, if it comes down to evacuations.

After six national TOPOFF (Top Officials National Exercise Series) drills that have escalated in cost from $16 to $25 million a pop – plus many real natural and man-made disasters – you'd think America would have emergency preparedness together by now. Yet tests and drills reveal numerous problems.

Some drills, whose assessments have already been released, reveal serious communication foul-ups, gaps in plans, and shortages in water, food, fuel and other supplies.

Communications problems, as innocuous as it might sound, is at the hub of all else.

Without effective communication, rescue units must depend solely on ham operators or end up as disasters themselves. Hams have been responsible for reliable communication relays, getting aid from point A to B and assisting in the coordination of supplies when those who were deemed our national experts failed.

Canada, Britain, Israel are all up-front and out in front informing their citizens about disasters, potential terrorist attacks and warning them to prepare on their own. James Lee Witt, former FEMA director, did exactly this in the mid-1990's. From then on the scenario morphed. America's government no longer participates in the philosophy of self-reliance and independence. Americans now choose to be willfully ignorant and woefully blind. America has transformed from a nation of can-do's to will-not's. That's what happens when government mandates and manipulates us to depend on them.

Canda's healthcare may stink, but they don't hold back from their citizens like our government does on the need for preparedness. We are no longer that invincable Nation. Our dumbed down M.O. is now humor's butt in the global community. How the mighty fall... Will you willingly participate or ready yourself?

Kudo this!

Another serious problem still stagnating progress is a reluctance of agencies to work with each other. Aid is hog-tied with red tape. Gov. Jindal addressed the ridiculous scenario of having to wait for governmental OK to proceed in saving Louisiana's shores, salvaging its fishing industry and tourism, and rescuing wildlife. While government drags its feet hoping not to annoy BP, our people in the South are suffering and businesses are going down the tubes. And this is right?

New Orleans in particular is facing unprecedented problems having not yet recovered from 2005 hurricanes. People are still waiting for payouts and reimbursements from five years ago. Many still live in crummy housing after FEMA had to pull their toxic trailers. You'd think that $2+ billion could have built clean, safe temporary housing.

And speaking of such... we hold all kinds of aid concerts raising millions for other countries, but where are Americans for Americans? It's astonishing that people are blind to the massive need right in our own country.

Golf vs. the Gulf

After Hurricane Katrina, Americans were assured that ALL agencies were cooperating, sharing information and manpower. Rubbish. If you watch news media that's not sucking up the current administration and not afraid to cross hair problems, it's apparent that the same kudo-coveting agencies are miring aid and progress. It took Pres. Obama 6 weeks into the Gulf oil spill disaster to finally find his "masculinity" and get angry enough to put heat on BP.

Where was Pres. Obama yesterday as our Nation sank further into this crisis? Golfing for four hours. This may be further evidence that someone else or some other entity is truly running our country.

Red tape trap

Another similarity between the hurricane aid debacle and the oil spill mess is getting a "permission slip". A personal friend of ours who owns a very large water filtration company took truckloads of their own equipment – at no cost – to New Orleans, but FEMA refused their generous, much needed aid. Why? Because they hadn't gone through proper channels. It hadn't been FEMA-authorized. Can you imagine? People were literally dying of thirst and help was turned away.

We heard this same story repeatedly. Generators were refused. Trucks carrying food and water were turned back. This kind of blind stupidity is impossible to digest. Where is common sense? Yet we're witnessing this same unimaginable silliness again in the Gulf.

We ignore getting to the gut of a problem in favor of interagency pettiness, political correctness and a top-heavy government. In a now politically incorrect assessment, we have too many chiefs and not enough Indians, too many sergeants and not enough grunts.

Few thought we'd ever experience such a debacle as the rescue efforts of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, but the Gulf oil spill may rival them at the end of the day.

Disaster drills around America and Canada

States are waking up to the fact that we can't and shouldn't depend on government. If you're smart, you'll realize this too, and make your own preparations for whatever events might challenge your area. Clearly government is more concerned with appearances and buck passing than it is in getting job 1 done – preparing and protecting America.

Pennsylvania: Medical Disaster Drill Being Held in Downtown Erie

Texas: Rapid Response Task Force drill at Ford Park

Dallas-area: Officials Practice Hurricane Routes

Photo: Aviation Technical Training Center student Graham McGinnis (center) plays victim of a plane crash during a mock disaster drill on the U.S. Coast Guard base.

Texas: Half-Full School Bus, Car and 18-Wheeler with 'Radioactive Material' in Tyler

Colorado: County Disaster Drill Tests Emergency Worker

Chicago: Massive Emergency Drill Could Lead to Traffic Mess

N Carolina: Emergency Response Teams Converge on Wilson Bay Disaster Drill

Ohio: Emergency Drill at OVU Tests Local Agencies’ Response

S Carolina: Anderson-area Agencies Prepare for Emergency Drill

California: Santa Barbara's Westmont to Host Emergency Drill

Chicagoland: "Disaster Week" Drills Begin

Connecticut: Emergency Drill at Sub Base

Washington: Emergency Drill ‘Patients’ Taken to Vancouver Hospital

Maine: Mock Crash, Real Test in Portland

Washington: Marathon Petroleum Postpones Emergency Drill

Connecticut: Emergency Drill Set for Thursday Night at Danbury Hospital

Oregon: Medford Airport Drill Gives Teams Practice

Missouri: MSU Drill Underway for Haz-Mat Fire and Bombs

Photo: Three separate convoys left Arlington, Texas in a live-action hurricane preparedness drill.
N Carolina: Drill Tests Coast Guard Under Stress

California: SWAT Teams Drill at Columbia College

Michigan: Preparing for the Worst at Water Plant

N Carolina: ECU Conducts Full-Scale Campus Shooter Drill

Washington: Holds Massive Earthquake Drill

Michigan: Nuclear Plant Emergency Drill Canceled after Power Outage

Washington: UW Med. Center Holds “What if” Situation Drill

New York: East Host's Red Cross Emergency Drill

Connecticut: Bristol Disaster Drill: Exploding Chemicals

Minnesota: Brown Printing Holds Large Scale Emergency Drill
Photo: Drill conducted in New Jersey.

N Carolina: Appalachian State Univ. Holds Full-Scale Emergency Drill

Wisconsin: UW Madison, Several Agencies Hold Emergency Response Drill

Rhode Island: Disaster Drill in Providence

Idaho: Idaho National Laboratory Holds Emergency Drill

Los Angeles: Nuclear Terror Drill Staged

California: Terror in Redwood City – Emergency Drill Prepares for Terrorist Attack

Canada: Expedia's Toronto Office Runs Yearly Disaster Drill – video

Canada: Ottawa Holds G20 Protest-Related Emergency Drill