After the superstorm: 3 things to learn from Sandy

The planning necessary to prepare first responders is a huge undertaking by any organization

I think we've learned a lot about disaster response since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005. With better preplanning, resource deployment and more accurate forecasting, it appears that our country was better prepared to handle the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Several of my colleagues from the West Coast are currently deployed in the tri state area, and from a broad perspective it appears that most of the resources are going to appropriate places.

However, as this article shows, it's still a challenge to manage the hour-to-hour logistics of actually being on the ground and providing care and assistance to the massive number of victims affected by the disaster.

The planning necessary to prepare first responders is a huge undertaking by any organization. As a reminder for all of us who are expected to respond in a large scale event, stay prepared!

  • Have a plan to stay in touch with your family, including a meet-up point
  • Have enough water, food and shelter for 72 hours stored and accessible, not only at home but also at work!
  • Participate in table top, walk through and simulation drills and be familiar with your region's disaster plan.

If you ever are involved in a major disaster response, be prepared for a long-term response. We're used to incidents lasting minutes to perhaps hours, not days to weeks. Stay safe and stay healthy — your community depends up on you!

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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