The Protect IU Blog
Thoughts on September
September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and I’ve been thinking about the way we look at emergencies and preparing for them a little differently now than we once did.
I know that emergency preparedness isn’t really new. I remember grade school fire drills, practicing a safe and orderly exit from the building and gathering in a safe place. And “sheltering in place” tornado drills. We sat on the floor in the hallway of the school building, back against the lockers, heads between our knees and covered by arms and hands to protect ourselves from falling, blowing objects.
And then there were bomb shelters. I begged my parents to build one after my classmates and I drilled our eighth-grade history teacher about what countries would be on “our side” if the Cubans launched missiles the direction of the U.S.
What is different now, it seems to me, is that there actually is a FEMA-orchestrated Emergency Preparedness Month…not to mention a Department of Homeland Security and an IU Emergency and Continuity office. There is a completely new interdisciplinary field dealing with strategies for mitigating, preparing, responding and recovering from critical incidents. Now it’s about planning strategically for minimizing loss and protecting critical assets. Those are good things.
I don’t mean to suggest that institutions were not aware before of the responsibility to try and keep people safe. A bunch of fifth graders sitting in the hallway, heads down and covered, is proof that they did. But now there is a newly heightened sense of vulnerability and urgency now drives emergency preparedness.
Why wouldn’t there be? National complacency got the boot 11 years ago this