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Disaster Preparedness News
Aftermath of Wildfires Creates New Problems and Highlights a Real Need for Preparedness
After the devastation of the California wildfires, numerous national, county, and local agencies have tried to spread one important message: the crisis is not over. As many residents return home under smoky and hazy skies, officials are stressing the fact that real dangers have not fully passed and that the aftermath of the wildfires creates a brand new set of problems for those who are unprepared. In fact, the situation is so serious that the Army National Guard has been sent in to help people prepare for two of the most overlooked results of severe wildfires, flash floods and mudslides.
Army and emergency officials were quick to point out that one of the main problems with wildfires is how they affect the soil and vegetation long after the flames have passed. Flash flooding and mudslides often occur just after wildfires due to the fact that rainwater doesn't absorb properly into areas stripped of vegetation and that wildfires themselves fundamentally alter the structure of the soil. The result is residents who are ill prepared for the devastation that can accompany the next rainy season. In an effort to circumvent these disasters, dozens of soldiers from the California Army National Guard are filling sandbags for residents and businesses in San Diego and other counties struck by the fires, but officials admit that the problems don't stop there (www.army.mil/-news).
As residents flock back to their homes, many are finding that local infrastructures such as electricity and clean drinking water are nowhere to be found. With power lines down and many basic services out of commission, evacuees are facing harsh realities as they stream back home. Residents who can't even flush their toilets are wondering if officials have been too hasty in closing down emergency shelters and allowing people to return to their homes. While many try to remain optimistic, those who have lost everything they own are forced to be more realistic (www.startribune.com).
As emergency response officials struggle to keep on top of the situation, residents are coming to the realization that they simply can't rely on local agencies to come to their aid in such an emergency. In times like these people need to realize the importance of disaster preparedness. Residents who have even a basic survival kit can remain confident that they will be able to take care of themselves during those critical hours and even days after a disaster. Nothing could be more important than making sure that you and your family are ready with quality emergency supplies in the event of a real disaster.
By Jon Stoll
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