answer and response to each post

Listen: to This American Life Episode 296: After The Flood (September 9, 2005) 60 min

~ Try listening while driving, cooking, folding laundry or doing other household tasks if you find it difficult to listen without visual input J

Reflect on the following:

  1. What “Act” stuck out to you the most? Why?
  2. What would you find the most challenging as someone involved in Emergency Management or as part of a Recovery team?
  3. How might these experiences have been better Prevented?
  4. What can we do to build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes so the impact of such a disaster is lessened?
  5. What must be done AFTER a disaster in this context to build community recovery and resilience?

Respond to at least 3 other classmates.



1.After listening to The American life Episode a few stories “Acts” stuck out to me. The story of the people trying to cross a bridge and where being shot at by police really surprised me. It also surprised me the fear people had of the military. I know that they had weapons on them but they actually did not have ammunition in any of their weapons, know this from first person accounts. In times of Martial Law the values of humanity really become blurred. It becomes more of a fear your neighbor, free for all do what you have to do to survive. But the problem and miscommunication of Martial Law in Louisiana during the time of Hurricane Katrina was false. In Louisiana no Martial Law exists. But the declaration of a state of emergency does give certain authorities.

“But even though no martial law exists, Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s declaration of a state of emergency [on August 26, 2005] gives authorities widespread latitude to suspend civil liberties as they try to restore order and bring victims to safety. Under the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, the governor and, in some cases, chief parish officials, have the right to commandeer or utilize any private property if necessary to cope with the emergency.

“Authorities may also suspend any statute related to the conduct of official business, or any rule issued by a state agency, if complying would ‘prevent, hinder or delay necessary action’ to mitigate the emergency.

“It also gives authority the right to compel evacuations, suspend alcohol and weapons sales and make provisions for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing. (Hurricane Katrina, n.d.)

2. The thing I would find the most challenging as a EM or a Recovery Team member would be seeing young children suffering. Children do not have a choice or sometimes the ability to avoid being stuck in a disaster like a hurricane. They are subject to the decisions there care givers make. I believe it would be very difficult trying to organize, and give proper instructions to children’s care givers. Their main objective is to keep their children safe and if what you are telling them is threatening that or does not sound trustworthy, or even what they want to hear it could be very difficult. Many times in a response team you are just following orders from the command above you. You might know the big plan but till you have your boots on the ground and see the situation for your self big plans tend to fail.

3. How could these experiences been better prevented? That’s a great question that has a million different answers from a million different perspectives. But in my eyes a better plan to evacuate the poor, and people that could not evacuate themselves should have been taken. The national guard or public transit busses should have been used to evacuate people, along with Disaster Mental Health professionals to explain and council people that where scared to leave. I hate to say this, but the south is still very segregated and rooted in old ways. You can find communities that have evolved but segregation is still very present in the south. I believe community awareness programs could help in this by having community’s get together and build repour and agreements to help each other in disasters.

4. Communities could hold events, that get people out and learn about disaster response, and things they can do to help them survive. These events can be interactive, with games, classes, food, entertainment. Recruiting public figures such as actors, or musicians to come to a event could motivate people to come out and the public figure could use some of their time to help educate the communities. Another thing that can be done is pamphlets that can be delivered by mail, to the community from the state or county on recommendations on what to do before, during and after a disaster. In these pamphlets, mental health suggestions, evacuation routs for the area, necessary food and water supplies and other recommendations. A return slip could be provided to identify themselves, for needing assistance during a disaster, they could identify children, special needs, and ability/ inability to self-evacuate. This would give the state/ county a great resource to track, plan, and identify areas that need more assistance.

5.A strong showing from the county/state/federal/NGO’s to get into communities as soon as possible and give clear, truthful information, security, and supplies. Visual information is always the best. Large whiteboards, or screens that show progress of supplies coming in, Maps of areas and updated damage assessments, and a clear, safe, efficient plans and timelines. People do not like to be left in the dark and like to have guidance. Giving people in a community a job/mission is a great way to start recovery. Giving them a task to clean-up a area together could build a sense of comradery, pride, for their community and aid in the recovery process.

Hurricane Katrina: Martial Law. (n.d.). Retrieved from…



  1. What “Act” stuck out to you the most? Why?

Honestly, I was amazed by all the Act and stories because I did not think that could happen. Act One, Middle of somewhere, it is really stuck out on my mind. When I heard the story of Denise Moore with her family and how they were kicked out from the hospital because other nurses and how they stay in the convention center with a hope that there are busses will come and move them to a safe area as everybody hope.

Another story from act 2 when got to the bridge and the armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line at the foot of the bridge and they do not allow people to cross the bridge. Also, they shot at the people without listening to them.

  1. What would you find the most challenging as someone involved in Emergency Management or as part of a Recovery team?

Recovery is one of the most complex missions in the emergency management phase because it involves a large group of multi-agencies, responders, and the community. Recovery team usually deal with a complex issue of decision that must be done to help individuals and the communities. Some of the issues are related to rebuilding homes and repairing infrastructure. It really hard to make a decision on which types of infrastructure come first, which service is more important.

The recovery team need ensure that there is a balancing in the recovery process to return the community to the normal and reduce any further vulnerability.

  1. How might these experiences have been better Prevented?

I think these might have been better prevented if we involve individual from the community itself to help to decide who is in need and what should be done first to prevent any further harm to the community.

4. What can we do to build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes so the impact of such a disaster is lessened?

Resilient communities can minimize any disaster disruption to their lives and economies. They are able to minimize loss or damage to their property and environment and most importantly they can return to their life quickly. Here are some ways to build more resilient communities:

  1. Ensure that all the public receive information about the preparedness, risk, and resources.
  2. Recognize the vital role of citizen and how they can play as first responders to help their families and community during the first hours and day of the disaster.
  3. Educate the community on how they prepare their family disaster plan and their important documents in one place.
  4. The responder must know their community and know the vulnerable population in the community.
  5. Design a strategy for the collaboration between the organizations. This can be done by designing a primary contact person for ongoing collaboration.
  6. encourage community health before and after the incident, do not forget behavioral health and ensure that they have access to it.

5. What must be done AFTER a disaster in this context to build community recovery and resilience?

  1. Ensure post-health incident access to health service.
  2. Ensure that all community have access to psychological first aid and behavioral interventions after a disaster.
  3. Engage the community in the recovery plan and let them work.

Baird, M. (2010). The Recovery Phase of Emergency Management. Retrieved from…



What “Act” stuck out to you the most? Why?

The act that struck me the most was Act One, in which Denise Moore, is interviewed by Ira Glass on the abysmal role of the U.S. government during Hurricane Katrina. She describes the suffering that she went through after she left New Orleans for the Convention Center. Humanity was one of the factors that seemed to be lacking, as she compares the conditions that the survivors were into those of animals. Another aspect that is shocking was the fact that two white nurses kicked them out of their rooms despite hospital employees being allowed to seek refuge at the facility, considering the fact that Denise’ mom worked at New Orleans Memorial Hospital. After being kicked out, Denise was forced to go back home only for the ceiling to crash down on her as water poured in at around 5 AM. The act struck me since it shows the suffering that the poor members of the African American community went through during the time of Hurricane Katrina, in a country that is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world.

What would you find the most challenging as someone involved in Emergency Management or as part of a Recovery team?

As an emergency management personnel, the most challenging activity would involve offering long-term solutions to the affected individuals. This is because any form of relief that may be offered by the government, charities, and non-government organizations may only be available during the time of the disaster. After that, the people are often left to take care of themselves, despite the fact that their property, assets, critical infrastructure, and even source of livelihood are destroyed. In other words, the help offered is so little and the disaster caused is so vast that it takes the community decades or even centuries to restore.

How might these experiences have been better Prevented?

A key strategy in preventing such experiences involves adequate preparation before a disaster strikes. The preparation involves pre-planning the steps that should be taken in case it comes to the worst, through a prediction of the key issues to be faced, the scope of work required, potential problems that may develop, equipment and infrastructure that may be required, as well as access to critical information and services. Next, adequate information should be communicated to the people who may be affected, and this is important in preparing them psychologically. Also, adequate supplies should be secured before the event happens, which includes communication equipment, support stations, and command centers that are needed for coordination and channeling of resources to those who are in dire need.

What can we do to build more resilient communities BEFORE a disaster strikes so the impact of such a disaster is lessened?

Resilient communities are the backbone to fast recovery and healing of societies, and a quick resumption of the normal day-to-day activities. The first step involves encouraging collaboration among societal members in developing disaster preparedness. The step is especially important in communities where disasters often strike on a frequent basis. The preparedness can be in the forms of drills and activities that will aid in fostering the skills required for survival. Other steps include forming support groups, identifying the vulnerable infrastructure, and carrying out education initiatives for the people.

What must be done AFTER a disaster in this context to build community recovery and resilience?

After a disaster strikes, the initial steps should focus on restoring the critical resources and infrastructure such as electricity, water, and health services. The assessment of the damage done should also be conducted to aid in future preparations following a disaster. Finally, the needs of the most affected should be arranged for such as counseling, food, and shelter, as well as jobs for sustenance. In essence, the resilience of the community depends on the capacity of individual members to quickly recover from difficulties. For that reason, community recovery and resilience should begin from a personal level and extend to a societal, town, city, county, state, and even national level.

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