08/25/11 — Lesson learned? Katrina tragedy offered warnings for future emergencies

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Lesson learned? Katrina tragedy offered warnings for future emergencies

Let's hope we have learned something about how to prepare for a hurricane.

In all fairness to North Carolina, that has never seemed to be a problem here. There are warnings, and state and local officials immediately mobilize and get the plans in place to make sure residents remain safe.

And then, when the evacuation orders are given, more often than not, residents heed the warnings and head for higher ground.

As we watch another hurricane blast through the Atlantic, it is hard not to think back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina and the resulting devastation and death toll.

For years there have been critics blaming everyone from then-President George W. Bush to Louisiana state officials for the resulting tragedies there.

And, now, years later, we can kind of see -- there was a lack of preparation and state officials really did not have their ducks in a row, but there were others who could have saved lives, but didn't.

The area of New Orleans hit by the monster storm was full of people who chose to ignore the warnings and to wait for someone else to come along and save them.

While officials should have worked harder to provide the means for them to leave their neighborhoods, they also had a responsibility, too, to take care of themselves and their families. The emergency response should have been for those who truly were powerless to leave -- the sick, the elderly.

It is a lesson that all those who must deal with emergencies like this should remember.

Irene will likely deal North Carolina a glancing blow. But thank goodness, here, we have been and always will be, prepared.

Published in Editorials on August 25, 2011 11:07 AM