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UEMA Online Newsletter
April 2010

Have We Spoiled Our Citizens?
-an editorial by Hugh Daniels-

     Yep, I think we have spoiled our citizens, though certainly not maliciously. When you call 911, someone generally arrives within minutes, be it Police, Fire, EMS, even Public Works. Our citizenry relies and expects government to bail them out during an emergency and we do just that, on a day-to-day basis. Now I am certainly not advocating not responding in a timely manner to calls for service, but I do think we need to be a bit more forceful when talking to citizens about their need to prepare for a major disaster or emergency.

     I expect that my experience mirrors others. When talking to groups about preparedness, your get some nodding in agreement or those who already have prepared, but for way too many the message seems to go in one ear and out the other. So I have taken to actually telling folks that they are "spoiled" and that their day-to-day expectations will not come to fruition on the day of a major event or the day after that or the day after that. It has seemed to get their attention just a little more focused, though I was recently told by one of our citizens I was being "Chicken Little" and just trying to scare people. Said citizen contended that all this talk of earthquakes was "overblown." For someone who grew up in Southern California and has lived through some substantial earthquakes, I just can´t buy into any of those arguments.

      We don´t need to be rude, but I do think we need to be pointed when engaging the public and the media about the need to prepare. I believe all of us in Emergency Management understand the issues and the consequences. As we educate our citizens I´m willing to ramp up the rhetoric just a little in the hopes of getting better compliance, but then I might be Chicken Little. . . . .

Hugh Daniels is the Emergency Manager for Park City and a member of the UEMA Board of Director.

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