Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 29, 2009

Our shared responsibility: Building a ready and resilient nation

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 29, 2009

Today at 2:15 (eastern) Secretary Napolitano gave a capstone speech for National Preparedness Month.  It was billed as a “focus on the important role that citizens must play in building a ready and resilient nation.”

For whatever reason, my connection never really held and I was unable to watch the webcast.  As of 3:30 eastern the transcript has not yet been made available.  But the Secretary has provided a preview of her main points via a post to the DHS Leadership Journal.  She writes,

Civilians are usually the first to arrive in a crisis, and history shows that they are critical in those important first minutes. And these citizen responders can be an even more potent force by:

  • Taking CPR training from the Red Cross
  • Training with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • Knowing when to take shelter or evacuate
  • Pre-planning evacuation routes and where to meet after a disaster strikes

If a disaster struck your hometown, that training, those skills, and those plans would free up first responders and emergency personnel to focus on those most in need.

So today, I’m calling on all Americans, across the country, to do two things.

First, take these basic steps:

  1. get an emergency kit;
  2. make a family reunification plan; and
  3. become informed about the types of emergencies your community is most likely to encounter.

Second, I’m asking all of us who are in book clubs, prayer groups, school boards, alumni associations, or other community organizations, simply to raise your hand and ask, “What’s our plan?”

Together, we can build a culture of readiness and resilience, and together we can build a more secure future.

According to a DHS news release, the Secretary’s remarks included, “We should measure our nation’s security not just by the borders we strengthen and the laws we enforce, but also by the strength and resilience of the communities we build.”

When the full transcript is available we’ll see if it is worth some exegesis and, maybe, even some exposition.

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Comment by Claire B. Rubin

September 29, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

I do not think we will see a meaningful increase in resilience at the local and state levels until the threshold for a Presidential Disaster Declaration is raised. Additionally, incentives are needed for individuals and governments to take action in anticipation of disasters and not simply wait for federal assistance post-disaster

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 30, 2009 @ 2:51 am

Interesting that no analysis ever appears from DHS on Ready.gov website! Why?

Comment by christopher tingus

September 30, 2009 @ 6:21 am

Unfortunately there is little faith in local state governments to do much these days other than to impose taxes and fees and taxes and fees as the economy is so uncertaain, constraints to local budgets only placing add’l pressure on first responders who do not often have a minimum in safety personnel levels to perform as expeditiously as these dedicated folks prefer as professionals responding to our desperate 911 calls.

as the economies worsen, it is the federal government which should be dispersing these unending “fiat” dollars to the support of local response.

More and more tragedy is promised, however more heroic acts in unselfish actions by citizen alone to help another will unfold as we here on Main Street USA Mr. President see a government on both sides of the aisle turning your cheeks to us as you Pelosi and Frank believe you know better than us and can impose yourself in every way. If all the local, state and federal bureaucrats who all should have trem limits imposed on them were truly enlightened, we would not be in the economic meltdown seemingly leading us to the impoverished status of a third world nation in the not-too-distant future.

I have been making every attempt to secure federal funding to allow MRE to be stockpiled in local high schools and middle schools for despite increased sales taxes and hikes in local fees, Taxachusetts and so many other state governments using the same ‘ol, same ‘ol “change” theme to get elected have only accomplished taking whatever change from our pockets and leaving us with the challenge of draining our pension savings paying taxes as well and leaving us the baby boomer nearly indigent….

Get the beds and food ready at the local schools to allow local police authorities to be able to protect a large group of citizens at one time for civil defense procedures have as much clarity as the local, state and federal government have portrayed as locals here on Main Street are not worried about biological attack from sleeper cells embedded in some small New Jersey community, but rather cupboards becoming empty and if employed, rising costs stripping buying power…It is now the purchase of guns and ammunition for each household which foretells the confidence we here on Main Street hold for those we have “entrusted” by precious vote to serve the public, not dictate to us nor impose itself so…

Here in Massachusetts, the State Legislature enacted a statute that allows the Department of Revenue to order the Registry of Motor Vehicles to “suspend” driver’s license – without due process by the RMV or any other department – for an income tax issue ony having nothing to do with any motor vehicle related offense. It is the only state that says that a driver’s license is a privilege rather than a neecssity for even the same State Legislators who passes the law or even the US Treasurer would have trouble paying any and all tax related balances if not allowed to get to work, get to the pharmacy to pick up meds, drive to the grocery store to buy food as one’s driver’s license to family today is a necessity to surviving as the federal government clearly states as a “mode of transportation” to allow one to make a living to care for oneself and as we see the x-ways cluttered with cars each and every day, whether one owes $12 or $1200 or $12k in income taxes to the State Legislators her in good ‘ol Taxachusetts, reasonable remedy of the law permits, levy of bank accounts, lien on home/shelter and even a court order “garnishment” of wages, but to “suspend” a driver’s license placing the individual and his/her family and job in jeopardy is a good example of just how State Legislators, MA/DOR and RMV government portrays itself to us here on Boston’s Main Street USA and it is an example of the foolhearty ways of tax collecting and by the way, contrary to the principles of the Constitution whereby government is not to unduly punish a fellow citizen unless given due process before peers.

And we are to rely on these jokers to come to our rescue when in need…Tyere is no transparency in government and empowerment has superceded even reasonableness of the law and governing. Joe Wilson resounding comment came from the growing volume in the whispers heard in the pews. Our beloved nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, not the harshness of the German govermment which will soon awaken us all again….

Oh…the woes of the simple man! Where is Camelot?

Christopher Tingus
64 Whidah Drive
Harwich, MA 02645

Comment by Pat Longstaff

September 30, 2009 @ 7:41 am

Bravo, Madam Secretary.

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