by Dave Nuttle

All evidence suggests that the U.S. Government (USG) generally failed to quickly or effectively respond to the hurricane Katrina disaster (in New Orleans -- 2005), as well as failing to prevent horrific terrorist attacks on Americans (in New York & Washington, D.C. -- 2001). It is therefore clear that individuals need to prepare themselves for future natural or terrorist-caused disasters. This statement is reinforced by the fact that governments, worldwide, have long failed to properly prepare for and respond to all types of major disasters. The list of failures is very long, and covers a lengthy time period.

It should be understood that most governments are frequently plagued by ignorance, arrogance, incompetence, corruption, and moral decay at senior levels of leadership. As a result, such governments generally lack the necessary focus to undertake effective emergency preparedness. When governments prepare or respond to one disaster, they typically do so with a single focus ---and when the nature of any threat does not “fit” the focus, any real response if far from adequate. The U.S. military is a good example of the single focus problem. Our military forces are trained, equipped, and prepared to respond with conventional force in the event of a political disaster resulting in war. If any one conflict is (or becomes) mostly unconventional, U.S. forces tend to suffer high losses and have overall failure on the battlefield; e.g. Vietnam & Iraq. In brief, governments have a long record of dramatic failures when it comes to responding to many emergencies (and the USG is no exception).

Advance warning of pending disasters seldom occur. If warnings do occur, in most cases, the alarm is given only a few minutes before the disaster. There are now some exceptions for areas that have invested in developing systems to provide advance notice of tornados and tsunamis. Intelligence agencies are also doing more to obtain the means to provide advance warning of a terrorist attack. However, the record of intelligence failures demonstrate that terrorists may still attack with the intended victims having little or no advance warning. In the recent past, our intelligence agencies have relied too heavily on technical intelligence --and many terrorist groups act to protect themselves against such efforts. Again, we have had a single focus problem. When intelligence information is available, many governments fail to engage in the rapid decision making required to take effective action(s). The net result is that every individual and family must make emergency preparations that will be immediately available to defend against threats that come with little or no warning.

In preparing for emergencies, of all types, the following categories of preparation are needed: 1) Intitial protective response; 2) Treatment for medical emergencies; 3) Possible or actual evacuation; 4) Communications; 5) Lighting; 6) Protective clothing; 7) Basic 72-hour kits w/ water or water filter, energy foods, medical items, flashlight, radio, extra clothing, fire-starter, knife, signal mirror, compass, maps & vital documentation, sleeping bag, poncho, and tube-tent or other emergency shelter; 8) Weapon(s) as needed; 9) Any special needs items; and 10) Silver coins, salt, or other barter selections. All of the above will vary according to weather or climate, and assorted local conditions. NPI, the Red Cross, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), and other groups are now providing advice on emergency preparedness subjects to include the said 72-hour kits. Individuals and families now have the resources they need to develop basic emergency preparedness plans. By developing and perfecting these plans over time, some of their savings may be used to acquire items needed to facilitate emergency response when required. If you wait for the next disaster, it may be too late.


About the Author: David A. Nuttle is a former GS-14 CIA Special Operations Officer with extensive training and experience in all aspects of survival/emergency preparedness.

As the founder and President of NPI, Nuttle has pioneered the research & development of innovative self-help items that have a dual-use for emergency preparedness and assisting the poor achieve self-sufficiency. In prior years he also helped large numbers of refugee

populations, worldwide, successfully deal with assorted emergencies. Nuttle is also the author of “The Universal Survival Handbook,” long used by volunteer agencies to help keep their volunteers safe when working in hazardous areas. A recently expanded version of Nuttle’s survival handbook is being posted on NPI’s website as here shown.